Protocol | China

China’s Singles’ Day is now a thing in the US

The Chinese Black Friday is making inroads among U.S. ecommerce buyers.

Store in China with Singles' Day deals

At least 100 Western brands offered Singles' Day-specific discounts this year, which marketing analysts believe indicated "widespread participation" in the U.S.

Photo: Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Click banner image for more Shopping Week coverage

Each year, as soon as Halloween is over, the U.S. ecommerce industry starts to prepare for the biggest sales push of the year: Black Friday. But increasingly, American retailers are also squeezing in a niche shopping holiday before the big year-end extravaganza — China's Singles' Day — essentially starting the holiday shopping season even earlier.

Singles' Day is the world's largest shopping bonanza, one invented by the Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba back in 2009. It falls on Nov. 11 (or 11/11, where the number one represents a single person). Originally, Singles' Day was branded as a celebration for being single and pursuing self-care. It's now China's Black Friday equivalent, but bigger, with sales numbers easily beating America's Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

A few years ago, American retailers popular among Chinese customers introduced Singles' Day promotions Stateside. Some offer discounts in multiples of $11, at a $111 price point or 11%-off deals.

This year, consumers and marketing analysts in the U.S. have noticed a wider range of Western brands launched Singles' Day-specific deals. All told, at least 100 Western brands — from direct-to-consumer sheets seller Brooklinen to luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue and from boutique jewelry brand Kinn to clothing retail chain Ann Taylor — offered Singles' Day-specific discounts. Krista Corrigan, a retail analyst at marketing and business consultancy Edited told Protocol it indicated "widespread participation in the region."

One possible reason more American retailers are participating in the Chinese sales event is to mitigate the supply-chain challenges clogging up ports across the world by spreading consumption across a longer timeline.

A screenshot of eBay's holiday shopping promotion. Screenshot: eBay

In China, where the ecommerce industry is also plagued by supply shortages, major online marketplaces like Alibaba and have stretched Singles' Day into a weeks-long affair. To help sellers and suppliers gauge consumer interest to secure inventory, Chinese ecommerce platforms launched a prolonged pre-ordering window before the "real" Singles' Day. In the U.S., Singles' Day is still a standalone, one-day shopping event, with the earliest promotion dropped on Nov. 6.

A Nov. 11 shopping event fits conveniently into the early Black Friday promotion window. A McKinsey survey found that 45% of U.S. consumers, concerned about shipping delays, started shopping for the holidays in early October.

This year's Singles' Day sales in the U.S. also mirrored its dimming sales performance in China. An Edited analysis found that the discounts applied on Singles' Day in the U.S. were also "the most conservative" in three years. The average sitewide discount was 45% this year, compared to an average of 50% in 2020 and 53% in 2019, because Americans retailers were trying to offset steep markdowns taken during the pandemic.

While the Singles' Day occasion has become increasingly recognizable in the U.S. over the past few years, marketing analysts believe it is unlikely the shopping event will reach the level of its significance in China.

"China's ecommerce environment is more [mature] and complicated," Wilson Zhao, a senior specialist at Gartner, a technology research and consulting company, told Protocol. Consumers in China can buy a single brand from a variety of sites, including both traditional brand sites and online marketplaces as well as social commerce platforms like WeChat, Red and Douyin. Each platform also has built its own ecosystem that allows buyers to shop through different channels such as livestreaming, influencer content and brand stores.

Still, Singles' Day could be a great opportunity for e-retailers to target the vast number of Chinese expats in the U.S. who are familiar with the festival.

"Brands such as Armani Beauty, Samsonite, Estée Lauder, Dior Beauty, Clinique, NutriBullet [and] GNC have offered promotion codes for Singles' Day," Zhao said. "Even though these discounts applied to limited selections, it is still a great marketing moment to stay connected with their Chinese consumers."

What Elizabeth Holmes didn’t say is as important as what she did say

The Theranos founder’s silence spoke loudly in the courtroom.

Theranos founder and former CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives for her trial in San Jose Tuesday.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Theranos investor Brian Grossman explicitly asked Theranos if there were other operating expenses his firm, PFM, needed to take into account. At no point did Theranos ever mention that it had purchased and was using third-party machines.

“You never told PFM that Theranos was using third-party machines?” prosecutor Robert Leach asked.

Keep Reading Show less
Biz Carson

Biz Carson ( @bizcarson) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering Silicon Valley with a focus on startups and venture capital. Previously, she reported for Forbes and was co-editor of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before that, she worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired and started her career as a newspaper designer for Gannett.

In a tight labor market, businesses are competing for top talent, even as employees leave in droves. A record 4.4 million Americans resigned in September 2021 — the highest on record for nearly 20 years — ushering in what some call the Great Resignation. That same month, 65% of U.S. workers said they were looking for a new job.

Business leaders have to respond to mitigate the negative impacts of this disruptive churn, with 36% of CFOs saying they're very concerned about turnover remaining high indefinitely and weighing on revenue growth. The answers to this challenge should be informed by the root causes of employee dissatisfaction as well as retention drivers.

Keep Reading Show less
Suneet Dua, PwC
As PwC’s US Products & Technology Chief Revenue and Growth Officer, Suneet Dua is responsible for driving more than $1 billion in product revenue and executing PwC’s product revenue strategy. He’s focused on driving innovation, delivering world-class, forward-thinking products and digitally upskilling the workforce and society at large. With 20+ years of technology, media and entertainment industry experience, he’s positioned as a catalyst for organizational transformation and delivers on the firm’s promise to solve the world’s most important problems. Additionally, he launched Salesforce and client-focused centers of excellence, such as our Cybersecurity centers in Israel, Singapore and India––all to improve the way PwC serves its clients. During his tenure as US Chief Product Leader, Suneet, and his team, played a critical role in designing and implementing digital tools that upskilled more than 55,000 of its US employees, which led to the development of PwC’s digital learning platform, ProEdge, that addresses the digital skills gap crisis facing today’s workforce. He also serves as a board member of PwC’s Trifecta Consulting (US, China, Japan and Mexico). Previously, Suneet served on PwC’s US leadership team and was Global Client Market Leader for PwC’s Global Network.
Protocol | Fintech

Crypto wallet maker Ledger gears up for battle with Dorsey’s Block

CEO Pascal Gauthier wishes Block’s CEO were still distracted with Twitter, but he’s still gunning for the big opportunity in securely stashing customers’ coins.

Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier talked about Ledger’s strategy in an interview with Protocol.

Photo: Ledger

Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier reacted with an odd mix of excitement and fear to news that Jack Dorsey was leaving Twitter to focus full-time on Square.

“Oh, shit,” was his immediate thought, he told Protocol. “I would have preferred him to stay with more companies and not focus on anything.”

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Protocol | Fintech

A legal brawl failed to uncover bitcoin’s fabled creator

Is Craig Wright Satoshi Nakamoto? A trial didn’t lead to an answer.

Craig Wright has claimed to be the creator of bitcoin.

Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for CoinGeek

A legal battle was supposed to answer the biggest question in crypto: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Well, that didn’t exactly happen. The identity of bitcoin’s fabled creator remains a mystery, despite high hopes that an unusual civil suit would lead to Nakamoto’s unmasking.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Snap CTO Bobby Murphy on embracing Apple’s AR glasses

Snap is building its own AR Spectacles, but the company also wants to embrace third-party devices.

Bobby Murphy wants Snap’s AR lenses to run everywhere — even on hardware made by competitors.

Photo: Getty Images for Snap Inc

Snap is all in on AR: The Snapchat maker has been building its own AR glasses, and is currently testing an early version with a small group of creators. Snap has also signed up 250,000 creators to build mobile-centric AR experiences through its Lens Studio platform, whose lenses have collectively been viewed over 3.5 trillion times.

Snap celebrated those milestones at its Lens Fest Tuesday, which the company also used to release a number of updates for both mobile and headworn AR. Snap CTO Bobby Murphy recently put that work in context in an interview with Protocol, in which he talked about the company’s progress in building AR Spectacles, why it isn’t focused on non-AR wearables anymore and why it ultimately also wants to build apps and experiences for AR devices made by its competitors.

Keep Reading Show less
Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

Latest Stories