A little under three decades ago, the humble ‘Singles Day’ was a little known event that was said to have started in Nanjing University dorm with four male students deciding to break out of the monotony of being single through celebration and partying.

These activities spread through the university and eventually made their way into wider society. The spread increased with social media use, and the event has become increasingly popular within contemporary Chinese culture and society.

Singles’ Day would eventually grow to become a national phenomenon. Youths would organise huge social gatherings and parties to lift their spirits of being single; while others would arrange blind dates in an attempt to alter their relationship status.

As the event gained more and more traction, many companies began to take the opportunity to target these young consumers. Businesses such as restaurants, karaoke parlours, and online shopping markets to name a few, all dove into the opportunity which presented itself.

Fast forward several years, and Singles’ Day is now one of the world’s largest shopping day in history; rivalling and even surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thousands of retailers and brands participate each year, offering an uncountable selection of goods at hugely reduced prices.

On Singles’ Day 2017, Alibaba set a world record for most payment transactions during the festival. Its mobile wallet app Alipay processed 256,000 payment transactions per second. A total of 1.48 billion transactions were processed by Alipay in the entire 24 hours, with delivery orders through Cainiao (Alibaba’s logistics affiliate) reaching close to 700 million, breaking the previous record set in 2016.

At this very moment, the Singles’ Day celebration is in full swing. Both retailers and e-commerce websites and marketplaces are being flooded with huge discounts. Even huge brands and businesses throughout the world are joining in on the festivities. Without a doubt, this year’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza will be a massive success once more.

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