They say inspiration comes from unexpected places, and the story behind Single's Day (Alibaba's annual sale and Asia's biggest) is definitely a unique one.
Who could have guessed that an Anti-Valentine’s Day event, popularly believed to have been organized by four male single students of Nanjing University in China way back in 1993, would eventually become a national phenomenon, not to mention a multi-billion-dollar annual event? Long-running holidays like Valentines, Halloween and Christmas have given online shopping sites boosts in their sales, so it's very interesting to see an event so recent become so big.
One of the reasons why Singles Day was well received was because of its duration. Singles Day sales in China and Southeast Asia usually run for a month from November 11 (11.11) to December 12 (12.12), making it more than just a simple transaction.
Another reason for its success is its ability to connect with its market. With men outnumbering women in a population of over 1.37 billion people, Singles Day was not only timely, it was relatable.
Due to its success, Alibaba then trademarked Singles Day and other related terms such as Shuang Shi Yi (double eleven) in China. 11.11 has grown from a university tradition into Asia's (if not the world's) most successful annual sale. In 2015, Alibaba broke records and had a total revenue of US$ 14.3 billion, surpassing the combined revenue of other annual sales like Thanksgiving (US$ 1.09 billion) and Black Friday (US$ 1.66 billion) in the US.
Here’s an infographic to let you see this event’s impact. Cheers, singles!