The most significant but uninteresting event occurring on December 3 ‒ for all times, it appears ‒ was when Sir Thomas Herriot introduced potatoes to England from Columbia in 1586. This actually proved to be the most significant factor for population expansion and agricultural enhancement across Europe. These benefits ultimately allowed for the rapid industrialization and military conquest launched by select European nations.
Be that as it may, this blog does not have anything to do with December 3. The subject is about the biggest worldwide shopping day.
What? You’re a shopping aficionado and you’ve never heard of it? Well, let me tell you… I hadn’t either, until I did research for my blog Black Friday Around The World. I’m just a regular dinosaur these days.
According to Wikipedia (but no other source I found) Singles' Day was originally called Bachelors' Day. It is an unofficial Chinese holiday to celebrate people who are not in relationships.
Singles’ Day originated in China in 1993. A group of lonely, yet positive, students at Nanjing University came up with the idea. These male students conceived the idea of celebrating the fact they were all single and without a girlfriend. The four roommates were tired of the day to day life as ‘single dogs’ as they are called in China and wanted to change this. They decided that instead of lamenting their lack of a significant other, they would instead celebrate being single, and selected November 11, 1993 as the debut date.
Image source: millionairedating.onluxy.com/china-singles-day
One student, for example, reserved every other seat in a movie theater, prohibiting couples from sitting next to each other during a screening of Beijing Love Story, an aptly named romantic film. Image Source: telegraph.co.uk/chinas-singles-day ▼
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The date for the observation of singledom was not selected at random. There are number of reasons. First, 11/11 looks like four, single sticks, strung together trying to make the most out of their time, and the date has become the symbol of the holiday.
Now, Singles’ Day, is the busiest and most lucrative shopping day in the world, enjoyed by single men and women, and married ones, too.
How did that happen?
IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY
The holiday in China went along for about a decade as a day for fun, planks, and shopping, a day with single folks celebrating their freedom, until the CEO of one of the largest online purchasing companies in the world, Alibaba, based in China, recognized the commercial potential.
Alibaba has turned the day into a festival week of performances and activities. Stars appearing at the gala performance the night before the 11/11 shopping sales start, include Nicole Kidman and Jesse Alba 2017, Taylor Swift at Alibaba's Shanghai event in 2019, and Katy Perry performing in a livestream in 2020. Not merely a shopping event, the holiday is also a day when people can party to socialize and meet other people, as well as practicing traditions that celebrate the single life. Jesse Alba stars at 2017 Alibaba Singles’ Day Festivities ▼
Image Source: adweek.com/performance-marketing/singles-day
There has been a slow down in the Chinese market in the past couple of years for certain political reasons, but the phenomenon of “Single’s Day” shopping has spread worldwide, supported heavily in Southeast Asia.
Exactly! Another day to legitimately spend two or three days shopping… and, hopefully, enough money to do it right.
Image Source: techradar.com/news/singles-day Image Source: polki.pl/praca-i-finanse/pieniadze,udane-zakup
▲ On of the problems in China is the leftover trash from Singles Day
Image Source: wlz-online.de/verbraucher/singles-day
MediaMarkt, a German company, promotes Singles' Day in their stores in Germany and throughout Europe. In Belgium public reaction has been somewhat negative since November 11 is the anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI and a day of commemoration of the war dead in Belgium.
In 2016, Swedish electronics retailer Elgiganten promoted a Singles’ Day campaign in Norway before implementing it in the other Nordic countries in 2017. Singles’ Day has yet to reach the Western and Southern Hemispheres, but who knows?
USA - HOME SWEET HOME
The American public is unlikely to embrace November 11 as a national shopping day. In part because we have our own frenzied holiday shopping days, but primarily that is because that date is Veterans Day which, hopefully, is far more important to US citizens than holiday shopping. Singles Awareness Day is the US was created primarily from the same feelings of isolation that started Singles’ Day in China.
“Around 2001, Dustin Barnes decided to create a day for his group of friends to enjoy their singleness rather than drown in their sorrows. This group of high school boys not only chose February 15 as a protest of Valentine’s Day but also realized they could score candy and love-themed items at a huge discount." Dustin carried the tradition from his high school on to Mississippi State University, where the holiday gained popularity.
Adults of all ages celebrate the day as a reminder that you don’t need a relationship to celebrate love. You can love yourself, your family, and your friends. There’s no reason to feel lonely around Valentine’s Day when love is all around you. And it doesn’t cost you a penny.