How the world's busiest online shopping holiday is upon us and why you've probably never heard of it.
In China it's Tuesday which means it's Singles Day – as in the day the celebrates the opposite of Valentine’s Day and it generates a bigger e-commerce frenzy than America's post-Thanksgiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales… combined.
Called Singles’ Day was started in China two decades ago by students at Nanjing University who wanted to celebrate their bachelor and bachelorette status and they settled on November 11 for a date because of the single date digits, 11/11.
The anti-Valentine's Day holiday remained as somewhat of a niche celebration until e-tailing giant Alibaba got on board in 2009 and launched Singles Day as a huge online sales event with drastic discounts.
According to the Business Insider Australia sales on Singles' Day last year for Alibaba totalled $US5.8 billion, up from $US3.1 billion the previous year. By contrast, Americans spent a total of $US2.9 billion last year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, all of which are recognised as the biggest online sales days in the US.
This year Forbes reports that some business analysts are forecasting sales to exceed $8 billion among retail giants Alibaba to JD.com – to put that figure into context Australia's e-commerce spend in the entire year to August 2014 was $15.6 billion, or $US13.4 billion.
Here is how Alibaba's Singles Day sales stack up.
According to Slate.com the hour-long "flash deals" for Singles Day on AliExpress include a casual men's hoodie for $0.11 (discount: 99 per cent; quantity available: 100), a vintage quartz watch with leather strap for $0.17 (discount: 99 per cent; quantity available: 50), and a high carbon steel fishing hook set for $4.60 (discount: 92 per cent; quantity available: unclear).
Happy hunting singles!