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Single and shopping: In China, 11.11 is also a day for singles

by Leila Salaverria

November 11, or 11/11, is a major shopping day in the Philippines.

But in China, it is about more than buying new things. 11/11 is an unofficial holiday in China to celebrate singlehood and self-love and all that these entail.

Some people call it the anti-Valentine’s Day.

Singles’ Day was initially a response to holidays and celebrations that focus on those who are coupled up and in committed relationships. It is believed to have started in the 1990s in China’s Nanjing University, as a pushback to couple-centric events.

November 11 was chosen for this day because the numerical version of the date consists of four number ones, with one representing single people.

But as the years went by, the date evolved into a big commercial event.

Chinese e-commerce companies now hold major shopping festivals every November 11.

Last year, Chinese e-commerce sites JD.com and Alibaba racked up sales amounting to $139 billion. Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales in 2021 amounted to $84.5 billion across the sale period, while those of JD amounted to $54.6 billion. 

The Singles’ Day sale used to be a one-day shopping event, but this has since become multi-day extravaganzas, with retailers beginning to offer deals and discounts several days before November 11.

In the Philippines, November 11 is more about shopping than celebrating being single.

It is usually one of the monthly online shopping events that e-commerce platforms host on the day corresponding to the numerical value of the month.

Nevertheless, it is a much anticipated by shoppers and bargain hunters alike.

The shopping sites host giveaways and offer vouchers and major discounts. 

They even hold performances to entice more people to shop.

No boyfriend necessary to add to cart!



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