The Ultimate Singles' Day Wrap Up
These days most people have heard about Valentine’s Day, the Western holiday during which couples celebrate their love for one another with a bit of romance. You might also know that China has its own version of Valentine’s Day called 七夕 (qī xī), or Qixi. (Check out this blog post for more info on Qixi!)
But did you know there’s an even more popular ANTI-Valentine’s Day holiday in China? That’s right - it’s called “Singles’ Day”, or 光棍节 (guāng gùn jié), and it occurs on November 11th of each year. It’s aptly named, since November 11th is four ones in a row: 11/11, hence ‘Singles’’ Day. This holiday is therefore also known as 双十一 (shuāng shí yī) - literally “double eleven”.
The “Black Friday” of the East
What’s even more interesting, is that Singles’ Day is celebrated a lot like Black Friday in the West - people spend a LOT of money buying products for themselves, or gifts for others. It even comes just a couple weeks before Black Friday.
Why buy on Singles’ Day? It’s basically the BIGGEST sale day in China, with nearly everything on sale. It’s one of the more modern traditions that has emerged in China with the boom of the Chinese economy. Chinese companies take part in the Singles’ Day sale to bring in more sales, and consumers take advantage of the great deals on products.
Black Friday vs. Singles’ Day
If you’re thinking that that Singles’ Day is on about the same scale as Black Friday, think again! Black Friday pales in comparison to Singles’ Day.
You may have heard of Alibaba, it’s almost like the “Amazon” of China - it’s the biggest e-commerce site in the PRC, selling everything you could imagine. On Singles’ Day this year, Alibaba ALONE brought in $38.4 BILLION USD! That’s right - BILLION! Not only that, but sales were up a whopping 25% from last year and have grown every year since the holiday’s inception (Source: CNN.com).
Suffice to say, this holiday tradition is here to stay.
To put this in perspective, last year, the sales from Singles’ Day that Alibaba ALONE raked in were more than DOUBLE what was brought in from Cyber Monday and Black Friday worldwide - crazy!
Needless to say, China does NOT mess around when it comes to sales on Singles’ Day! If you’re living in China, or like to purchase products from China, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for sales next year as it’s most definitely the best time to shop.
Speaking of Black Friday, a certain website with 6 courses for learning Mandarin Chinese MAAAAAYbe having a Black Friday Sale with a big discount on all courses and bundles... stay tuned for announcements!
Other Customs on Singles’ Day
Chinese Reading Challenge
In honor of Singles’ Day, we prepared a reading challenge for you guys, using some key words related to the holiday.
This topic is on the advanced side, so don’t worry if you have trouble! Just give it a try on your own to see how much you understand, and then check out the English translation and key words below!
zhōng guó de guāng gùn jié
guāng gùn jié de shí hou wèi le cù xiāo zhōng guó de táo bǎo tiān māo jīng dōng děng shāng jiā dǎ zhé dōu hěn lì hai
3. “光棍节” 变成了购物的 “狂欢节”!
guāng gùn jié biàn chéng le gòu wù de kuáng huān jié
4. 去年阿里巴巴 “双十一” 的销售额已经超过了 “黑五” 还有 “网络星期一” 销售额加在一起的两倍.
qù nián ā lǐ bā bā shuāng shí yī de xiāo shòu é yǐ jīng chāo guò le hēi wǔ hái yǒu wǎng luò xīng qī yī xiāo shòu é jiā zài yì qǐ de liǎng bèi
jīn nián de shuāng shí yī ā lǐ bā bā de xiāo shòu é chāo guò le sān shí yī yì měi yuán zài cì pò le qù nián de jì lù
míng nián de guāng gùn jié nǐ zhǔn bèi zěn me guò
yào shì guò de huà nǐ huì cān jiā xiāng qīn hái shì qù mǎi dōng xi
hēi wǔ de shí hou nǐ men dōu xǐ huan mǎi shén me
nǐ zuì xǐ huan nǎ xiē pǐn pái ne
huān yíng nǐ men zài xià mian de liú yán qū gào su wǒ men
Now, see how you did with the translations below!
2. During Singles’ Day, in order to promote sales, businesses in China, like Taobao, Tmall, and Jingdong, give really intense discounts.
3. “Singles’ Day” has become a shopping “carnival”!
4. Last year, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales volume was over twice the sales volume of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
5. During Singles’ Day this year, Alibaba’s sales volume surpassed $30 billion USD, breaking last year’s record.
6. How do you plan to celebrate Singles’ Day next year?
7. If you’re going to celebrate it, will you go on a blind date, or go shopping?
8. During Black Friday what do you guys like to buy?
9. Which brands do you like the most?
10. You guys are welcome to let us know in the comments section below!
Key Vocabulary Used:
- 光棍节 (guāng gùn jié) - Singles’ Day
- 促销 (cù xiāo) - to promote sales
- 淘宝 (táo bǎo) - Taobao (e-commerce company owned by Alibaba)
- 天猫 (tiān māo) - Tmall (commerce site spun off of Taobao, owned by Alibaba)
- 京东 (jīng dōng) - Jingdong (e-commerce company, a competitor of Alibaba)
- 商家 (shāng jiā) - store/business
- 打折 (dǎ zhé) - to give a discount/discount
- 购物 (gòu wù) - to shop/shopping
- 狂欢节 (kuáng huān jié) - carnival
- 阿里巴巴 (ā lǐ bā bā) - Alibaba (e-commerce company)
- 双十一 (shuāng shí yī) - Singles’ Day
- 销售额 (xiāo shòu é) - sales (volume)
- 黑五 (hēi wǔ) - Black Friday
- 网络星期一 (wǎng luò xīng qī yī) - Cyber Monday
- 亿 (yì) - hundred million
- 记录 (jì lù) - record
- 相亲 (xiāng qīn) - blind date/arranged date
- 品牌 (pǐn pái) - brand
If you’re just starting out learning Chinese, check out our Beginner Course here with Lesson 1.
More on the intermediate spectrum? Check out our Intermediate course here, and Upper Intermediate here.