Happy Singles' Day!

Reuben Barrett - 11 October 2018

It’s a global phenomenon that’s a big deal for our Singapore and Asian people – and now increasingly Australia and New Zealand. It’s not just about love, it’s also about shopping! Here's what it is, and how brands can stand out.

This Sunday is Singles’ Day (11th November). We love it in Singapore but for many of our Aussie and Kiwi colleagues, they know so little that their immediate reaction can be “oh, a day where couples can get a hall-pass and be “single” for a day?”. Not quite. Here’s what this day actually is and what really happens on 11/11.

Celebrating Singledom

Singles' Day was created in China in 1993 by a group of university guys who wanted to celebrate their singledom in the spirit of treating themselves to make up for being single. It soon spread like wild fire, thanks to the power of the internet. Here in the Asia Pacific, this day is gaining quite a following, as well.

It’s almost like an urban legend, except this one is true. Singles' Day (or Guanggun Jie, translated 'single sticks’ holiday' ) didn’t start out with the intention of becoming a commercial phenomenon – it was simply some university guys celebrating their singledom on the 11th day of the 11th month (makes sense when you think about it).

It’s a major commercial opportunity

A commercial phenomenon it has become. Over the past few years Alibaba, along with the rise and power of e-commerce, has turned Singles' Day from an anti-Valentine's Day for single people into the world’s biggest online shopping day. Last year, total global turnover ticked over US$25 billion (more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined).

And while shoppers embracing Singles’ Day are predominantly in Asia, more and more Western countries and their retail brands are jumping onboard. There is an estimated over 60,000 international brands taking part in the Singles’ Day “festivities” this year.

How brands stand out – some winning tactics

If you’re one of those brands wanting to participate in this “shopper’s festival” you may wonder – how can I grab attention when all the brands are screaming ‘buy me!’?

A big part of the challenge is bringing past and live customer data together to create an accurate picture of your customer and their journey – and then using this to personalise their experience, across every channel.

Adding countdown clocks and sales timers that build anticipation, stoking up the fear of missing out and encouraging customers to act quickly once the sale starts are all valid tactics in creating a sense of urgency.

Data is the key, however. Research by California State University has found that people are more motivated to shop online with brands who provide them with the right mix of experience and great offers, but in order to do that, brands need to understand their users as well as their product offering.

Good things do come to brands that observe.

Happy Singles' Day!