Tips & Advice

Let the Sparks Fly on Singles’ Day

Some marketeers conceive the strangest things – I’m looking at your ‘Happy Tax Day!’ card collection Hallmark, and how about that Rainbow Shure! Bert flavor Oreo launched a few years back?

But when Jack Ma, CEO of e-commerce giant Alibaba, predicted that Singles’ Day will become a global holiday within less than 5 years – he wasn’t crazy.

Singles’ Day started out as a couple of Chinese college kids’ anti-Valentine’s Day in 1993, co-opted by Alibaba in 2009. Now it’s celebrated annually on November 11, or 11/11, as the four numerals represent ‘lonely matchsticks’. The idea is that unmarried men and women celebrate singledom by taking to their devices and working the ‘shop ’till you drop’ idiom to an extreme. While Veteran’s Day and the birthdays of Leo DiCaprio and Demi Moore fall on this date, demand over recent years suggest it Singles’ Day is the event that’s going to break the internet.

Since Singles’ Day is the antidote to Valentine’s Day, the purchases tend to be luxurious gifts – for them, the gifts are their ‘match’.

There are several reasons why a shopping holiday dedicated to singletons is fairly logical in China. For one, the longstanding son preference in the country has contributed to an unbalanced man to woman ratio. The projections are that over 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will have never married by 2030. That’s 1 in 4 adult men! Sadly most of these men are incompatible with the country’s female population, as they tend to be poor and uneducated, therefore unemployed. The Chinese woman, on the other hand, is more often than not a quaintrelle.

There’s even a a dedicated term in China, ‘Shengnu’, which refers specifically to educated Chinese women in their late twenties who are still single. It literally translates as ‘left over women’ but if you change the character slightly and keep the pronunciation of ‘sheng’ the same, you actually get ‘successful women’ – coincidence? You decide.

So for all the single ladies, you sheng single ladies – treat yourselves and feel good about it. Browse our gift sets and let the sparks fly.

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Writer and expert

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