The e-commerce promotional sales event, held each year on Nov. 11, started in 2009 by 27 Tmall.com merchants to fill a gap in China’s retail calendar — and to mark Singles Day, the day young Chinese single people celebrate their independence by treating themselves to a special purchase.
Over the years, the day has exploded in popularity. In 2014, for instance, more than $9.3 billion worth of purchases were placed during the 24-hour period through China’s top payment platform, Alipay. And at least 27,000 merchants from across the globe participated.
By comparison, the 2014 Cyber Monday holiday promotional event generated an estimated $2.65 billion in sales.
For this week’s upcoming Singles Day extravaganza, the shopping opportunities will be even greater.
According to Alibaba Group, the company’s China and international online marketplaces will be offering discounts on more than 6 million products from at least 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands, including Burberry, Zara, Macy’s, Nike, Topshop and Uniqlo.
The firm noted that consumers in roughly 200 countries and regions can participate, though the majority of transactions are expected to take place in China.
And several U.S. department stores are also getting in on the Singles Day action. Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Off 5th and Neiman Marcus are all partnering with Chinese-American shopping site Dealmoon.com to offer special promotions on popular luxury items.
The sales begin on Nov. 10 at midnight.