Get ready, set, shop! Chinese consumers are gearing up for the country’s biggest online shopping bonanza of the year.
The holiday — set for Tuesday — is called “Singles Day,” and started as a way to celebrate single people. It’s now morphed into a multi-billion dollar e-shopping frenzy that attracts buyers both single and paired.
Last year, total online sales in China hit $8 billion on Singles Day, more than double the combined $3 billion sold in the U.S. for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
The stage is set for another sales record this year.
The idea of “Singles Day” began as a cheeky antidote to Valentine’s Day, and falls on Nov. 11, or 11/11, which represents four single people. On the day, it’s common to exchange gifts and eat fried dough strips — kind of like a churro — because they look like the number “1.”
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Chinese tech giant Alibaba moved to capitalize on the shopping fervor starting in 2009, when it began offering special discounts to lure in more customers.
Since then, the company has brought in staggering sales every year, clocking in at $5.7 billion in 2013.
Alibaba offers deals on everything — food, apparel, electronics, home appliances, cosmetics and more. Last year, a 13-carat diamond was sold for nearly $4 million.