Singles’ Day Sets Another Retail Sales Record

Could Singles’ Day be coming to the U.S. – or is it already here?


With over $38 billion in retail sales this year, China’s annual Singles’ Day – a 24-hour global-shopping event held on November 11th – is bigger than our Thanksgiving Day sales, Black Friday sales, and Cyber Monday sales combined.

Adobe Analytics predicts 2019’s five-day Thanksgiving weekend will result in about $29 billion in retail sales, both online and in-store. This $29 billion includes a huge jump in Thanksgiving Day sales from last year – up 19.5% year-over-year and a huge jump in Cyber Monday sales – up 18.9% year-over-year.

So, why is it that so few of us have heard of Singles’ Day?

The World’s Biggest Shopping Day

Singles’ Day started in 1993, when students at Nanjing University started hosting singles parties as a way to combat the negative stigmas attached to being single. And they chose November 11th because it was the date with the most 1s – 11/11.

Since then, Chinese retail giant Alibaba – the world’s largest retailer and e-commerce company – has turned it into the largest shopping event the world has ever seen. In fact, Alibaba is calling it the “11:11 Global Shopping Festival” and in the first hour of this year, sales topped over $13 billion.

Will Singles’ Day Catch-On in the U.S.?

There are a handful of retailers in the U.S. that are running promotions on Singles’ Day, including:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Nike
  • Columbia
  • Kate Spade
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Williams Sonoma

But the likelihood that Singles Day will be brought to the U.S. isn’t very high, because November 11th is also Veterans Day. Same could be true in Europe because November 11th is Armistice Day.

But the reality is, whether retailers call it a Veterans Day Sale, a post-Halloween Day Sale, a pre-Thanksgiving Day Sale or a Singles’ Day sale, smart retailers will find a way to run a sale.

And in 2019, that’s important for two reasons:

  • First, never forget that U.S. consumer spending accounts for almost 70% of our GDP;
  • Second, given the way the calendar falls in 2019, between Cyber Monday and Christmas Day, there are six fewer days of peak holiday shopping days compared to 2018. And this translates into about $1 billion in potential lost revenues for retailers.

Will There be a Couples’ Day?

While Singles’ Day started as a way to celebrate singles, an interesting thing happened. In China, on Singles’ Day, the number of couples deciding to un-single themselves and get married increases by about 6-times.

So, maybe a Couples’ Day is in the works? Or is that really Valentine’s Day?