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Singles Day: The biggest shopping day you’ve never heard of

Written by: Emma Lunn
UK retail sales are expected to reach almost £1.3bn in just one day on 11 November.

Despite most British shoppers having never heard of Singles’ Day, the shopping event is predicted to see almost £1.3bn in UK sales alone, according to

The discount site commissioned the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) to write the Shopping for Christmas 2019 report.

It found that the UK is forecast to have the highest Singles’ Day sales in Europe for the 24-hour discount event which takes place on 11 November.

Singles’ Day started as an obscure “anti-Valentine’s” celebration for unattached university students in China in the 1990s. Singles celebrated their solo status by buying themselves gifts on 11 November – a date written as 11.11.

Singles’ Day was adopted by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in 2009, with Singles’ Day sales held on and its retail site

The shopping event is slowly catching on in the UK. The CRR predicts that purchases with participating retailers such as Amazon, Sports Direct and ASOS, are expected to increase by £170m on last year to reach £1.29bn in 2019.

While Singles’ Day sales are increasing rapidly in Europe and North America year-on-year, awareness in Europe is still relatively low. More than four in five shoppers (83.5 per cent) have never heard of Singles’ Day.

Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at said: “Sceptics may consider the awareness of Singles’ Day to be relatively low, but Black Friday was not so long ago viewed apprehensively by British shoppers as an American tradition. It has since grown into a monumental discount event, taking in sales of over £8.57bn in the UK alone in 2018.

“This year’s Singles’ Day sales are expected to amount to 15.1 per cent of Black Friday’s total weekend revenue, but considering the years of hype around Black Friday, this is an impressive figure for a fairly unknown event.

“It’s great to see another day of discounts happening in the UK, where people can make savings on their purchases. Shoppers should keep an eye out for deals across their favourite brands, from Xbox and PlayStation to Superdrug and New Look, and sign up to alerts to make sure they don’t miss out.”

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