Marketing Tips For Singles’ Day

Shop til you drop? Now, it’s more like: online shop ’til ya’ keyboard flop!

Our article, “How Amazon is Dominating eCommerce,” mentioned that Amazon pushed Prime Day to October 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November, there are typically huge sales, both in-store and online. Yes, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are always when people like to shop till they drop. However, a new emerging “day” has come, and it’s a force to be reckoned with!

Say hello to Singles’ Day, November 11th. This day originated from China; the main goal is to bring attention to and celebrate those whose relationship status is single, which has now evolved into an epic sales event.

In this blog, we will explain how Singles’ Day is single-handedly dominating global online sales.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

How Did Singles’ Day Come About?

The “day” itself is said to originate back from the early ’90s in China. College guys supposedly started this unofficial day to celebrate their singlehood and have a day that’s “anti-Valentine’s.”

This date’s numerical visuals: 11/11 looks like lonely matchsticks standing by themselves, which is why this day was chosen.

It wasn’t until 2009, when Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba brought it to the limelight. They took the concept and structured an online event around it. Think of it like Amazon Prime Day but not exclusive to just Alibaba’s online sales. It’s a socially-constructed, 24-hour, epic sales event that many Chinese businesses have rallied behind and fully-embraced. This trend has now been brought all across the world!

The Power of Singles’ Day

Here are some compelling statistics to get you thinking about maybe you want to plan a campaign for the upcoming Singles’ Day!
When Alibaba debuted the event of this sale back in 2009, 27 vendors participated. Fast forward to 2017; there were 60,000. In 2019, 200,000+ brands participated!

Singles’ Day is now the biggest shopping event in the world. They grossed approximately $30 billion in sales, which completely blows Black Friday sales out of the water. Take a look at Business Insider’s graph from 2018:

  • 2009: $7 million
  • 2010: $135 million +1700%
  • 2012: $3.04 billion +267%
  • 2013: $5.75 billion +83%
  • 2014: $9.3 billion +63%
  • 2015: $14.3 billion +60%
  • 2016: $17.7 billion +32%
  • 2017: $25.3 billion +39%
  • 2018: $30.7 billion +27%
  • 2019: $37 billion

The numbers have skyrocketed and had significant growth, year over year. We are curious to see what will happen in 2020 because COVID-19 has exacerbated online shopping behaviour amongst different age groups.

1 in 4 US retail brands plan to get involved with the sales event, such as Apple and Estee Lauder.

It has become such a hyped-up event that they hosted a countdown gala with a Taylor Swift concert in 2019. Kim Kardashian also launched her fragrance on the platform through a live stream for the event.

With this much star power and participation from big brands, it’s hard not to be tempted to participate!

Update Oct 2021:

In 2020, despite the pandemic, the total value of orders across Alibaba’s shopping platforms was $74.1 billion, which is about double what it was 2019.

Wow–with this event growing by the year, brands should definitely be paying attention and consider testing out a campaign for themselves!

Marketing Tips For Singles’ Day

Are you interested in planning for a marketing campaign on Singles’ Day? We have a few useful tips for you to consider:

#1: Create Authentically Chinese Campaigns

You need to have relevant ad creatives to capture the Chinese audience’s heart and attention. This means ad copy in the Chinese language. You can team up with a Chinese translation contractor to come up with the creative copy and work with an advertising agency, like War Room, that is familiar with digital advertising on Chinese platforms, such as Duoyin (Chinese version of TikTok), WeChat, Weibo, and more.
Besides just having Chinese campaigns, consider creating a Chinese version of your website or a dedicated landing page.

This will create a sense of familiarity and automatically build some rapport. Speaking directly and natively allows you to expand your brand’s horizon to a new audience.

#2: Advertise On Chinese Platforms

Building off our previous point, it’s crucial to get into the mindset of Chinese marketing. The big three advertising platforms: Google, Amazon, Facebook are non-existent in the Chinese market. Google and Facebook (and Instagram) are censored in China, and Amazon does not have as prominent of a market share.

The Google equivalent in China is the search engine, Baidu. In 2018, Baidu’s market share was almost 80%. Can you even imagine that audience reach? That’s why it would be beneficial for any business to work on some Chinese SEO to rank on there. Make yourself accessible to the Chinese audience!

Compared to North America, Amazon doesn’t dominate the eCommerce market as much in China. The primary online marketplaces are Alibaba’s main product sites: Taobao and Tmall. For international shoppers, they access the sales and products from Aliexpress. All these platforms are like a combination of Amazon and eBay, and they also ship worldwide.

#3: Not Advertising in China? That’s Okay, Celebrate In Spirit!

Alright, you don’t necessarily have to sell directly on AliExpress to participate fully! You can be there in spirit. Many brands hold sales on their own site to echo Singles’ Day. Here are some examples of brands and their Singles’ Day marketing campaigns:


Some brands decided to go cheeky, some did puns and have discounts offered at 11%. We always love creative advertising examples!

We highly recommend marking down 11/11 into your brand’s content marketing calendar and make a sales offer. Use your usual marketing strategies, such as promoting on social channels, one-off email campaigns, or video advertising.

#4: Get Creative & Fit The Theme

Aren’t the campaign examples above quite darling? It’s all about celebrating singlehood. Instead of wallowing in loneliness, think bright colours and positivity–the day is meant to empower and…

So gear your products or services around the theme.

Self-care has become a holistic topic that is all about self-empowerment and wellness. It’s a concept anyone can get behind, and so the message of taking care and putting yourself first is universal.

Like RuPaul says:

If you sell products, see if you can bundle it up as “Party For One” and offer excellent quality and curation at an affordable price for Singles’.

If you’re a restaurant, maybe you can have a week-long event that offers a special meal set for one? Perhaps an appetizer, main dish, and dessert with a beverage for a good deal. Solo-dining has always been socially-acceptable in Asia, for example:

The concept of “table-for-one” has taken Chinese diners and restaurants by storm.

It’s also huge in Japan; in fact, a family restaurant chain remodeled lots of their locations to accommodate more solo diners!


Not going to lie, this seems like a safe option for socially-distanced dining, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If it works and customers buy into it, perhaps consider incorporating it into your future menus.

It’s always fun to experiment and try something new. You might even break into a new demographic and become a trendsetter in your community!

What are your thoughts? Will you be participating in the coming Singles’ Days in the future?

Before you go...

What Have We Learned?

Singles’ Day originated in China in the 1990s as an “anti-Valentine’s” event to celebrate being single.

In 2009, Alibaba, the Chinese eCommerce giant, took the concept and built an entire day’s worth of an online sales event in 2009. It blew up! First-year in 2009, they made 7 million. In 2019, they made 37 million! Now, the event of this sale is widespread across the world.

Tips For Marketing on Singles’ Day:

  • Work with a Chinese translator to create authentic, high-quality ad creatives and team up with an advertising agency to help you serve your ads on Chinese websites and applications.
  • Instead of advertising on Google, Facebook, and Amazon for the Chinese market, serve your ads on Baidu, WeChat, and Douyin etc, instead.
  • Embrace the theme and market your products or services towards bachelors and bachelorettes alike.
  • Restaurants can consider offering “table-for-one” dining options for a week. Bonus: this might be a viable, social-distancing option during this COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Not only is “Single’s Day” is also a way to celebrate self-love and care!
  • Even if you’re not planning to run native Chinese ads in the Chinese market, you can still participate in spirit! Many Western brands also host sales on their website, using their ad creatives to echo Singles’ Day.