If you’re not single now, you’ve no doubt been single at some point. We’re all born single, after all, and we all have friends, family members, co-workers and others in our lives who are single. Singles are all of us, everywhere. And yet we don’t acknowledge singles or singlehood the way we do couples and romance. That is, we haven’t until now. National Singles Day is here, and it’s a day for all of us to give thanks and say, “Hey, all you single people out there – you’re awesome!”
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that singles are 45% of U.S. residents 18 and older – that’s 107 million U.S. taxpayers – up 2 million from 2014. National Singles Day recognizes and acknowledges our single population and celebrates their contribution to the fabric of our daily lives.
No longer a minority, much less the lonely, downtrodden bachelors and spinsters of yore, today’s singles are vibrant, active contributors to their communities, workplaces, families and to our economy, culture and vitality as a nation.
Whether by choice or circumstance, single lifestyles are growing in acceptance and popularity. Younger generations are choosing to stay single longer, living solo or cohabitating. Some singles choose to raise children out of wedlock, others focus on their own self-development, marrying at a much later age, or not at all. National Singles Day recognizes this growing segment of society, and with an eye toward a more equitable future in which being single is held in as legitimate a light as coupling up, we encourage everyone to join us in celebrating singles!
Isn’t Singles Day a Chinese thing?
National Singles Day was inspired in part by China’s Singles Day, started in the 90’s by a group of college students and catapulted into a global retail phenomenon in 2009 by Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant. Generating sales in excess of $9 billion in 2014, China’s Singles Day has become the largest retail sales day in the world, more than doubling the U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
China’s Singles Day is celebrated on Nov. 11th, the solitary one’s of the date – 11.11 – evoking “bare branches,” the common slang for singles in China.
Singles Day, also known as “Double 11” or “11/11 Shopping Festival,” has become so successful that it’s propagator, Jack Ma now seeks to make Alibaba the “gateway to China” for brands worldwide. American brands like Adidas, Costco, The Gap, Macy’s and Microsoft are already on board, just to name a few.
Michael Evans, President of Alibaba, was recently quoted as saying, “Over the past decade, we measured ourselves by how much we changed China. In the future, we will be judged by how we change the world.”
Has the U.S. ever done anything to commemorate singles?
Here in the homeland, the adoption of a holiday recognizing singles has been slow to take hold. In the 80’s, the third week of September was designated National Singles Week (also known as National Unmarried and Single Americans Week), resulting in the U.S. Census Bureau publishing statistics on singles in America for the first time in history!
In more recent years, February 15th was designated Singles Awareness Day (rumor has it, by a Mississippi State University college student), making the day after Valentine’s Day a day for singles to call their own.
Unfortunately, neither of these efforts have gained much momentum, and Singles Awareness Day, with “S.A.D.” as its acronym, has come to double as a day of spite and lonely single’s lament as well as a day of celebration.
So, why January?
What’s clear to us is that America is in need of – and ready for – an official singles holiday, one that recognizes and celebrates singles and single lifestyles – be they by choice or circumstance, temporarily or for life. And we’ve chosen January 11th – 1.11 – to retain the symbolic 1’s of the date while steering clear of Veteran’s Day.
We like our January date as it kicks off the year with something fun and upbeat for everyone – singles and couples alike – to get out and celebrate themselves, their single friends, family members and co-workers. National Singles Day fills the lull between the end of year holidays and Valentine’s Day with something engaging for consumers and profitable for businesses.
An awesome kickoff for an awesome holiday!
January 2014 marked the inaugural celebration of National Singles Day in West Hollywood, California. From the start, local businesses were quick to sign on with Singles Day specials and discounts and were happy to hang posters and banners to help advertise and promote the event. Putting social media to work, we posted photos and updates daily. With growing visibility, we were able to appeal to accredited speakers and entertainers, signing on author and singles rights advocate, Thomas Coleman as keynote speaker and award-winning comedian and author, Vicki Wagner as emcee, along with a talented lineup of guest comedians for the afternoon’s entertainment.
As RSVPs to the January 11th celebration continued to roll in, the list of donated Singles Day giveaways grew as well – from t-shirts and jewelry to pizza and limousine coupons. All told, with nearly 200 in attendance, the event was a runaway success.
Our goal is to bring National Singles Day celebrations to every city and town in America and to expand the Singles Day retail experience to include national and global brands that offer Singles Day specials both in-store and online. Singles Day truly is for everyone!