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What is ‘Singles’ Day’ – and does it have anything to do with finding love?

The South African logo The South African 2021/11/11 Megan van den Heever
© Provided by The South African

You may have seen or heard that today – 11 November – is Singles’ Day… But what does it mean, and does it have anything to do with love and relationships?

Strictly speaking, Singles’ Day is a term coined to celebrate the numeric play on the date – 11/11 – which looks like four ones, or four singles, standing together.

It’s also a major shopping event, that’s even bigger than Black Friday….

WHAT IS SINGLES’ DAY?

Singles’ Day was originally called Bachelor’s Day originated out of China and has become an “unofficial holiday and shopping season that celebrates people who are not in relationships”.

The numerals 11/11 are significant in that the number ‘1’ resembles a “bare stick” which is Chinese slang for an unmarried man who has not “branched out” into a tree.

According to reports, the term was coined in 1993 when a group of four single men from Nanjing University decided to celebrate their bachelorhood with special events and celebrations. The activities spread amoungst the single community and with social media, has become a widespread phenomenon.

And whilst the day was originally helmed to celebrate the single demographic in the country – over 4000 couples got married on 11 November 2011 (11/11/11) – it has now commercialised into a retail and online shopping day which has become popular in other countries too.

Last year alone, Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba raked up a whopping $38.4 billion (R593 billion) in earnings on the day.

SINGLES’ DAY IN SA

As with Black Friday – the colloquial term given to the Friday after the US celebration of Thanksgiving – Singles’ Day in South Africa is slowly gaining momentum.

Many online retailers in the country are offering enticing sales and offers to celebrate the day, and “spoil yourself” as a single person.

Bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe told Bizcommunity: ““It’s an opportunity for people to spoil themselves. Singles’ Day is all about making yourself feel good.

“Everyone is different so different products would appeal to a range of single people. Having said that some products allow for expression of self, for example, cellphones, clothing, especially sneakers, watches, items for your home and health and beauty”.

Health and beauty retailer Clicks are celebrating the day with an up to 40% off sale, whilst other fashion and beauty online stores like Zando and Superbalist are also cashing in on the action.

And so are online stores like Takealot and OneDayOnly and many others.

ALSO READ: Black Friday 2021: Makro announces unique plan for November

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