- Alibaba raked in over $8 billion in sales in the first hour of its made-up marketing holiday, “Single’s Day.”
- Singles Day has its roots in an obscure Chinese holiday for students who had not married yet.
- Alibaba CEO Jack Ma capitalized expertly on the holiday, and now, Single’s Day dwarfs traditional American shopping holidays like Black Friday, and is much larger than Amazon’s “Prime Day.”
Alibaba turned Single’s Day, the Chinese holiday for the single-set, into a huge economic opportunity through a savvy marketing blitz.
The company raked in well over $8 billion during the first hour minutes of this year’s sale, largely through its online shopping platforms, Taobao.com and Tmall.com as well as a glitzy gala.
Students at Nanjing University first celebrated Single’s Day in 1993 as an appreciation of, you guessed it — being single. They picked November 11 (11/11) as an ode to the loneliness of the number one.
But Single’s Day was never meant to be a somber affair. Just like couples buy each other presents on Valentine’s Day, Single’s Day is an opportunity to treat yourself and buy the things you’ve always wanted.
Yue Xue, a ‘dating consultant’ in Beijing explained to Time in 2014 that the concept of being single in China is a recent development. “China used to be a society where there was no dating culture,” Xue said. “There was no going on dates to turn into a relationship. You see someone, if you can marry them or you never see them again.”
Singlehood only gained widespread acceptance in China because of Western films and television shows. And just as Valentine’s Day has become a juggernaut for consumption, so has Single’s Day.
Alibaba launched a massive marketing push around Single’s Day in 2009, offering special “Double 11” deals.
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