Can We Import Chinese Shopping Holiday “Singles Day”?

Monday was a holiday here in the United States, but many people are still comfortable with the idea of honoring our military veterans with crass commercialism. You see “Veteran’s Day” sales here and there, but it’s not the commerce powerhouse that it could be. Over in China, though, November 11 is the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Back in the ’90s, the holiday started as a joke among a group of friends. Get it? 11/11? A date that consists of ones? Years passed, and Chinese e-retail giant Alibaba adopted the holiday. After all, who has lots of disposable income? Single people!

The holiday happens to fall between two major holidays in China: National Day on October 1st and the long New Year’s celebration. Sales figures for this year aren’t nailed down yet, but consumers spent over $3 billion on Singles’ Day 2012. Americans spent about half that on Cyber Monday. Sure, it’s surrounded by other shopping holidays, but that’s no excuse!

This year, sales on Alibaba’s Chinese platforms hit $5.75 billion. Some Western retailers that do business in China also scheduled sales for that day.

What nonsense holidays can we use here in the U.S. to promote consumer frenzies? Businessweek suggests Arbor Day and Wright Brothers Day.

Forget Cyber Monday. China’s Singles Day Is Arbitrary Consumerism Done Right [Businessweek]

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