There are a number of things that you need to embrace in order to live your China experience to the fullest. Whether it be learning the language, getting to know the cuisine, or celebrating Chinese holidays, it’s the combination of these areas that will help you to immerse yourself fully into life in the Middle Kingdom.
And then there’s Singles’ Day (11/11). This Chinese holiday of sorts originated from Nanjing University in 1993. It was initially celebrated because the date consists of four “one”s, apparently signifying multiple single people mingling. Upon graduating, these college students carried the university tradition into society, and now it is a worldwide phenomenon that has outgrown the bachelor or bachelorette focus and has been corrupted into an all-out sales extravaganza in retail stores and online. It was trademarked by the Alibaba Group in 2012, and in 2016, Singles’ Day rang up an amazing $17.8 billion USD in sales.
As your typical Singles’ Day is spent maybe attending a speed dating event or the like, which wouldn’t apply to most of our readership of expat families, it is actually the perfect occasion to get all of your winter and holiday gifts sorted because of the great discounts being offered by just about everyone under the sun.
In recent years, the concept has been not only growing, but also evolving. Usually, the percentage amount of the discount being offered will shift and swerve (between 10-50%) as the day goes on to keep shoppers on the edge of their seats.
If you don’t have the skills or various e-payment options needed to buy things online through Taobao, JD.com, or Baopals, don’t worry because many physical locations (pretty much all of them, including Uniqlo, Old Navy, Gap, etc.) will also be having sales to celebrate being “one” with yourself.
We also recommend that you ask a friend or ayi to help, as they too will likely be participating. Make a day of it, and get a big bag of guazi’r to aid you in your shopping quest while you bond over the timeless act of commerce.
Singles’ Day is when my wife and I will be stocking up on about four months worth of diapers. But check out here on the Beijinger, where they list out just a couple of the great deals available to you.