China is gearing up to celebrate a holiday on Monday called Singles’ Day, which started out in the 1990s as a protest to Valentine’s Day, but has since morphed into the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Sales on Singles’ Day last year for Alibaba Group, China’s biggest e-retailer, totaled more than $US3.1 billion, doubling the $US1.5 billion spent by U.S. consumers on Cyber Monday in 2012, according to Alibaba spokeswoman Candice Huang.
This year, Alibaba’s two ecommerce sites, Tmall and Taobao Marketplace, are expecting sales of at least $US4.9 billion, according to a report by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
The websites will be offering 50% discounts on items like boyfriend body pillows and hoodies that read “I am single because I am fat,” Foreign Policy reports. Bargain hunters can also find deep discounts on crystal chandeliers, French wines, and even BMWs.
The holiday hasn’t always been about shopping. Five years ago, only about two dozen companies were offering discounts on Singles’ Day, also known as “Double 11.”
Then Alibaba entered the game in 2009 and within three years, Singles’ Day had become the biggest 24-hour shopping event in the world.
About 20,000 brands will be offering deep discounts on Singles’ Day this year, according to Huang. American retailers planning to participate include Amazon.com, Microsoft, Gap, and Toys R Us.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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