It’s Singles’ Day! Celebrate it by putting you first

People who are single are expected to mingle, right? Think again. Come November 11, single people all over the world are expected to shop up a storm.

That’s because November 11 is Singles’ Day, the world’s largest e-commerce event.

Never heard of it? That’s because, for now, it’s massive in China – and relatively unknown in South Africa.

But it’s a seriously big event, easily surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday – put together.

The event – the polar opposite of Valentine’s Day – celebrates being alone rather than being hitched. There is some mystery surrounding the origins of the event. Some say it was an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration created by a group of students at a Chinese university in the early 1990s. Others say it was conceived by the Amazon of China, Alibaba, in 2009.

Mystery even surrounds the significance of the date. Some say the date was chosen because the date’s numeric value is a group of single ones: 11/11. Others say the number eleven resembles “bare sticks” which is Chinese slang for “bachelor”.

But one thing is certain: Alibaba is laughing all the way to the bank. Last year, the e-commerce giant clocked up an impressive $38.4 billion (R593bn) in earnings on Singles’ Day alone.

In fact, it reported a whopping $1bn in sales during the first minute of Singles’ Day last year. And it’s no longer the exclusive domain of Chinese shoppers; much like Halloween – which originated in what is now Ireland – Singles’ Day is fast becoming a global shopping phenomenon.

So, assuming you’re single and wish to shop (and not mingle), here are some great ideas:

A car

Why stop for a bottle of perfume or bubbly when one can buy a new set of wheels? And the great news is that – being single – you can splurge on something totally indulgent. So, what cars would an 18 to 24 year gift themselves with?

A list of the top 10 most searched for makes and models by this demographic in September on AutoTrader reveals some absolute pearlers. “A Ford Ranger is ideal for the single person who would like to venture off the beaten track, an Audi A3 is the perfect car for a fashionista while a BMW M4 is a good fit for someone looking for a powerful ride,” notes George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

An experience

Instead of buying something, why not buy an experience? A holiday perhaps? A flying lesson? A gin-brewing class? Experiences often outweigh products (even expensive ones).

A pet

So, you’re single. And maybe you DO want to mingle. Just not with a human being. Head off to your local SPCA – you’ll be doing yourself and the pet a favour.

A virtual assistant

We’ve already established that you don’t necessarily want to be around people. So, how about buying a virtual assistant for yourself on Singles’ Day? He/she can do pretty much anything for you – and you never need to see the person. What a deal.