Singles’ Day: the day with most online purchases worldwide

Nov 14, 2019Blog

On November 11 it was Singles’ Day (the four ones of 11-11, the number one symbolizes being alone), the day that Chinese young people celebrate being proud to be single. They do so by buying presents for themselves or for single friends. This newest sales event blew over from China a few years ago and has been adopted by more and more web stores. But how does Singles’ Day also speak to Dutch consumers?, the leading Dutch ecommerce association, together with Ruigrok NetPanel, has done research into Dutch consumers. How familiar are Dutch people with this new phenomenon and what do they, think of Singles’ Day?

Most online purchases today worldwide

Singles’ Day was created by several Chinese universities in 1993 as the Chinese day for singles. The Chinese Alibaba has been using this for years and has turned Singles’ Day into the shopping event of the year: their turnover on that day this week was some 38 billion dollars. Webstores around the world have started to follow the lead of the Chinese. Singles’ Day has now become so huge that it is the day when the most online purchases are made worldwide. In the Netherlands too, various (online) retailers took part in Singles’ Day this year, though it has not become mainstream here yet.

No Valentine’s Day for singles

Whereas on Valentine’s Day almost a third of Dutch consumers surprises their lover (anonymously), single people have not yet embraced Singles’ day as an alternative, says the research by Ruigrok NetPanel. In fact, willingness to purchase items on this holiday is higher among people in a relationship (16%) than among people not in a relationship (9%).

“While 16% of singles said they put themselves in the spotlight, only 2% of the singles did what the day is intended for: treat themselves to a gift to celebrate the single life,” says Wijnand Jongen, director of Singles also indicated in the study that such a day “is not really necessary” (38%) and that they found it commercial (37%).

However, this year many (including non-single) consumers did use Singles’ Day to get ahead on their shopping for Sinterklaas – the typical Dutch holiday for giving gifts on December 5 to celebrate Saint Nicholas’ birthday – and Christmas. Of the Dutch people who used the offers on November 11 to buy gifts, some 54% made purchases for Sinterklaas and as many as 68% for Christmas.


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