How did 11.11 become the largest online shopping day in the world?

At this point no one can have missed that Chinese Singles’ Day or Guanggun Jie (光棍节) is happening today! Singles Day started as an “anti-Valentine’s” celebration for single people in China back in the 1990s. The popular story is that it was started by students at Nanjing University who celebrated their singledom by treating themselves. It takes place on November 11 every year and is sometimes known as “bare sticks holiday”, after the way the date is written (11/11).

In 2009 Alibaba chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in Singles Day and began launching “Double 11” deals just as online shopping was starting to explode. It was also seen as a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season.

Today the festival has become the largest online shopping day in the world, with sales in Alibaba’s sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 billion in 2013, US$9.3 billion in 2014, US$14.3 billion in 2015 and over US$17.8 billion in 2016. 

Below we have listed SwedCham’s member companies that provide special deals on 11/11. Click on the links to go to each companies Tmall shop.











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