Singles’ Day is the biggest single shopping day in the world, eclipsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday globally. We spoke with the experts at Dealmoon (SID: 1851970) who brought this holiday from China to the US to see how affiliate marketers can get on board with the global shopping phenomenon. You’ll learn what Singles’ Day is, the growth of Singles’ Day in the US market, the opportunities that Singles’ Day provides, and how to build a Singles’ Day offer.

What is Singles’ Day?

Although Single’s Day may be best known as a giant shopping day in November, the origins of the holiday are rooted back in the early 1990s, and had nothing to do with shopping at all. Founded by Nanjing University students in China as a way to push back against expectations they should be in relationships, Single’s Day was originally celebrated as an “anti-Valentine’s Day”, whose participants were primarily young men. The holiday falls on November 11 every year, or 11/11, to further symbolize being single.

Though initially a small, “go against the grain” type of holiday, Single’s Day has expanded to the point where everyone, regardless of gender or relationships status, can be a part of the experience. This is because the holiday has shifted from rebelling against norms, to a bigger-than-Black-Friday shopping day in China, with huge sales on luxury brands, apparel, health and nutrition, home goods, beauty, and technology. Since that expansion, groups of friends (and even couples) can enjoy shopping and getting deals on activities together.

The evolution of Single’s Day from anti-Valentine’s Day to shopping holiday has caused it to explode with popularity. In fact, Single’s Day is now the highest-grossing online shopping day worldwide, eclipsing Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales in the United States, combined. In 2015, Cyber Monday set a sales record of $3.19 billion dollars in sales. By comparison, Single’s Day outperformed Cyber Monday with $14.3 billion dollars in global sales. This isn’t a new trend either – this holiday has outpaced Cyber Monday since 2012! Single’s Day isn’t just the biggest online shopping day of the year for Chinese consumers, it’s now the biggest in the world.

Singled Out: Single’s Day in the US Market

Despite the holiday shopping frenzy starting earlier every year, when US shoppers think of the biggest days in holiday shopping, the first two that come to mind are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However,the expansion of Single’s Day into the US could indicate a shift with how early customers start their holiday shopping.

Despite being more profitable worldwide, Singles’ Day is still incredibly new to US consumers, having only been introduced to United States consumers in 2013 by Dealmoon. (SID: 1851970.) The first year Dealmoon had a Single’s Day sale for US shoppers, only 30 US retailers participated. But after the first year, the holiday expanded quickly for retailers – there was a 300% increase in participating retailers (120) in 2014, and in 2015 there were over 180 participants (including several big names in Luxury Brands) with several of the participating merchants exceeding over $1 million dollars in sales. This year, Dealmoon is expecting over 300 retailers to participate.

The growth in advertisers participating in Single’s Day shows the rise in interest in the holiday – and the sales numbers back that up. 2015 saw a 14% increase over the previous year (about $1.4 billion, or a third of Cyber Monday’s sales that year). While the holiday is still relatively new to US consumers, the growth is notable. When you consider that the holiday season shopping period is trending towards starting earlier each year, it’s not hard to understand why consumers are becoming more active during the days leading up to the traditional “big spend” days.

Opportunities and Obstacles of Single’s Day

There are key benefits to participating in Single’s Day, as well as some challenges.

Building brand awareness and reaching new customers are two of the most immediate opportunities advertisers have when they participate in Single’s Day. Dealmoon notes that being able to tap into a potential new group of consumers can provide a serious incremental lift to a brand, which is extremely beneficial for both long-term loyalty between consumer and brand, as well as potentially adding more sales to holiday efforts.

The benefits don’t stop there. According to Dealmoon, one of the biggest benefits in Single’s Day is the ability to test an offer. Shoppers will be flooded with offers and sales during key shopping dates in November, which come just a few short weeks after Single’s Day, and advertisers will be looking to stand out to shoppers with captivating offers. Single’s Day provides advertisers with a chance to test offers to see if consumers are interested in them. If a sale does well on Single’s Day, the advertiser can re-use it or calibrate it slightly to appeal to a wider audience again a couple weeks later; conversely, if a deal isn’t generating a ton of interest, it could be a sign that the advertiser needs to “up the ante” on their offer.

In addition to testing offers, Single’s Day also provides the brand a chance to increase sales during the first half of the month, when sales are typically slower (due to consumers waiting to spend their money at the end of the month). With exciting offers that come earlier in the month, customers may not feel the need to wait until Black Friday when they can get a great deal on Singles’ Day.

With all that said, another holiday earlier in the month doesn’t guarantee success for the advertiser. The concept of Single’s Day is still new to many shoppers, and with an already-crowded month of well-known shopping days, it may be challenging to get consumers to adapt and spend their money earlier. Additionally, Veteran’s Day also falls on Single’s Day; since it is more recognized among many US shoppers, getting them to pivot to thinking that should be a day for shopping deals could prove challenging.

How to Boost Your Single’s Day Deals

Advertisers looking to get involved in Single’s Day should get started now. This year, Dealmoon will be running Single’s Day promotions from the 5th of November to the 15th, with a huge focus on both the 10th and the 11th when the official holiday takes place (keep in mind that part of the 10th in the US is the 11th in China).

There are two keys to a successful Single’s Day deal. The first is providing a deal that’s the same caliber as a Black Friday level offer. Strong deals are what attracts people to making purchases on Single’s Day, and US shoppers will want to feel they’re taking advantage of a “Black Friday” deal. Otherwise, they may decide to wait a few more weeks before making a purchase.

Second, the offer should be exclusive. Give the consumer a reason to be excited about the deal, and have a sense of urgency about taking advantage of it. Remember, this is a month where consumers are ready to spend big, but only when they feel there’s a deal to take advantage of. You can sway those shoppers to spend the money they were already planning on spending later in the month by making the deal exciting, and make it feel like they’re getting a steal. If this is a deal they can only find during this time period and with a specific publisher, it makes the deal that much more enticing and memorable.

Single’s Day is a growing opportunity for consumers to jump on holiday shopping earlier than Black Friday, while providing advertisers with a boost in sales early in an already-busy sales month. The growing popularity and success of Single’s Day in the US market is something that advertisers should be aware of and help to promote, as it not only entices early shoppers, but also gives holiday shoppers a reason to make their purchases early. To learn more about Single’s Day, reach out to your Rakuten Affiliate Network Account Manager today.