Anti-Valentine's Day ("Singles Day") is the largest retail sales day in Asia
Greg Maloney - Feb 14th 2017, 17:07
What started as an “anti-Valentine’s” celebration concocted by students at Nanjing University in the 1990’s has grown into the single largest shopping day in Asia with sales of $17.8 billion last year.
The day, affectionately known in China as “bare sticks holiday” because of how 11.11 looks written out in Chinese, has moved well past its original intent of students celebrating their singlehood, to become a shopping phenomenon where people (regardless of relationship status) buy themselves presents. Romantics need not fret just yet, as Valentine’s Day still holds the slight edge with expected sales of $18.2 billion this year according to a National Retail Federation survey.
The Single’s Day sales volume, while impressive, is still dwarfed by the biggest shopping day of the year overall – America’s Black Friday. Single’s Day drew 115 million shoppers to their computers and mobile devices, with mobile capturing the lion's share of 82% of sales, while Thanksgiving and Black Friday drew 154 million customers. Black Friday is still dominated by brick-and-mortar, which captured $25.7 billion in sales compared to e-commerce’s $4.98 billion. The average Black Friday expenditure has a lot to do with its dominance as a retail holiday with an average of $289 per customer. That’s significantly ahead of Single’s Day, which averaged $155, but behind Europe’s largest shopping day of the year, Boxing Day.
While its etymology may be somewhat nebulous, Boxing Day has become the biggest shopping day in Europe, drawing 15 million people last year. It is important to note that it is only observed in the U.K. and in Europe (it is also observed in several other countries that were previously part of the British Empire), therefore it does not have the pure numbers to compete with Black Friday in the U.S. or Single’s Day in China. However, Boxing Day still packs quite the punch (pun intended) – generating $3.59 billion in brick and mortar sales and an additional $1.09 billion in online spend. However, those 15 or so million consumers are big spenders, shelling out $316 on average in purchases.© 2017 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved
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