The Biggest Shopping Day You’ve Never Heard Of

Singles’ Day, the highest-grossing online retail event in the world, is predicted to make more than $10 billion this year.

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday – China’s Singles’ Day is now the world’s largest online shopping frenzy, as visualised by

So, what exactly is this little-known event? It all started in the early 1990s, as a playful response to Valentine’s Day. Students at Nanjing University decided to celebrate their single status with a bout of retail therapy.

Everything kicked up a gear in 2009 when Jack Ma, CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, spotted a commercial opportunity in this celebration of singlehood. It was also a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season.

Today, it’s the world’s highest-grossing retail event, with Chinese consumers spending 57.1 billion yuan (£5.87 billion) in 2014 – three times more than Brits and Americans spent during Black Friday and 60% more than Alibaba made on the same day the previous year.

And the momentum doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, with Singles’ Day’s £6.8 billion predicted revenue for 2015 bigger than that of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, across all stores in the UK and US.

Even if Singles’ Day matches the 16% rate overall online shopping growth rate predicted by market analysts PwC, it will make Alibaba more money in one day than the Bahamas generates in a whole year.

Plus, with Singles’ Day opening to international shoppers for the first time, the sky seems to be the limit for Alibaba Group.’s infographic also reveals shopping trends in the US and UK, where Cyber Monday is losing out to Black Friday. People are snapping up gadgets before the weekend, with Black Friday digital deals making it harder for retailers to make their margins on Cyber Monday.

For the full story, geographic breakdowns and more visit:


  1. National Retail Federation:
  2. ComScore:
  3. Conlumino:
  4. Experian:
  5. Alizila:
  6. Centre for Retail Research:
  7. PwC:

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