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What to Know About Singles Day - the World's Biggest eCommerce Event

September 12 - 2023

Email Marketing Content 5 min read

Jarrang 16 5 23 22

In the immortal words of Destiny’s Child, “All the women who are independent, throw your hands up at me”.

…of course that goes for men too.

Because in today’s blog post we are talking about China’s celebration of all things singledom, ‘Singles Day’. Dedicated to single people who practise a little self-love by treating themselves to gifts and indulging some ‘me time’ through discount codes and offers. 

In this blog post we will explore all there is to know about Singles Day for marketers. What Singles Day actually is, how it differs from other popular shopping events, and how marketers can make the very most of the opportunity to spread some love. 

What is Singles Day?

How does Singles Day compare to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Singles Day marketing strategies

Next steps

What is Singles Day?

Think back to the 90’s and you likely remember The Spice Girls, lava lamps, and questionable dance routines.

However, this was also the era where the first Singles Day was born.

The event is the brainchild of a group of students at Nanjing University, China, who were looking for ways to proudly celebrate their single status amongst their monogamous fellow students.

Creatively, they chose the date of November 11th (11/11) as it features four ones, which is neatly a Chinese cultural symbol of being single. This also gives Single Day its alternative name, Double 11. 

And Singles Day fast became a hit amongst other students in China. So much so, that in 2009 Alibaba, the Chinese eCommerce giant, launched its very first Singles Day sale. This was a huge success, and solidified Singles Day as a significant shopping event for singles and brands alike.

And even if you’re not so familiar with it, Singles Day has grown to be one of the biggest shopping days, globally. In fact, Singles Day now extends beyond the original date of 11/11, and also far beyond China. 

In 2021 Alibaba's Singles Day sale alone generated a whopping $84 billion+ in sales. And at least 900 million Singles Day shoppers spent $132.6 billion in the first two weeks of November of the same year. 

The savviest of you may have noticed that that’s more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Impressive!

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/364543/alibaba-singles-day-1111-gmv/

How does Singles Day compare to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Unsurprisingly, Singles Day is frequently compared to another two of the biggest shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

However, there are some key differences between these three events.

Dates

The first obvious difference is the date that these shopping events are held. Singles Day takes place on November 11th, whilst Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday is the following Monday.

Target audience

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generally targeted at, well, pretty much everyone. Singles Day, on the other hand, is specifically aimed at those individuals who are single and proud.

Channels

Singles Day takes an innovative approach to marketing, emphasising mobile shopping alongside gamified experiences. Black Friday on the other hand, provides fairly traditional campaigns, often involving in-person alongside online shopping. And lastly, Cyber Monday is geared towards online-exclusive promotions, hence its name. 

Sales

Singles Day generates more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. As mentioned, Alibaba's Singles Day sale alone generated over $84 billion in sales, whilst Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated a combined total of $75 billion.

Singles Day marketing strategies

Singles Day has been the perfect opportunity for brands to get creative with their marketing strategy, and execute some truly innovative campaigns that offer more than simple offers and discounts.

Here are a few things that we can learn from Singles Day marketing:

Target your single audience 

This is a no-brainer. Singles Day is a unique concept that lends itself to a unique campaign that should be created with single-and-proud buyers in mind.

This means elements such as imagery, language, and products all need to be considered.

No photos of smiley happy couples holding hands here. Instead focus on happy singles living their best lives, and ensure you’re using fun, but sensitive, language.

Build anticipation and urgency

Singles Day is competitive, to say the least.

So brands need to start early, and build a sense of anticipation and urgency in their sales and campaigns to help build excitement and encourage fast purchasing decisions.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to achieve this via most marketing channels. Consider launching teaser promotions, time-limited deals, utilising countdown timers, or offering pre-sales for your VIP customers.

Have fun with Gamification and Interactive Elements

Singles Day is the perfect excuse to get creative and have some fun with your marketing.

This could include gamified elements of campaigns, virtual games, lucky draws, or interactive challenges. This not only encourages participation, but is also in keeping with the theme of Singles Day.

Personalise and segment your audience

Of course, the key to any successful marketing campaign is personalisation.

Ok, it is tricky to personalise a campaign based on a recipient’s relationship status. So, instead focus on personalising the language and product recommendations as much as possible.

This could be as simple as incorporating a first name into the email copy. Or personalising products based on recent purchases. And with email marketing in particular, dynamic content can help you to create highly personalised campaigns with the use of a single template.

Of course, if you don’t have this technology or data to hand, simple segmentation based on demographics, stages in the buying cycle, or even location can have a big impact.

Next steps

For some, Singles Day may be yet another shopping event to add to their eCommerce calendar. But it also provides marketers with an opportunity to get creative, innovative, and have a little fun with their campaigns.

And as much as we hate to think about it, November is just around the corner, so there’s no time to waste.

If you want to ensure you’re making the very most of this frankly giant sales event, then get in touch. At Jarrang, we are email marketing experts that understand both local and global eCommerce opportunities, and we’d love to help you with your Singles Day plans.

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