Black Friday vs Singles’ Day

Author avatar

Laura Crimmons

We all know that Black Friday has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last few years, after originating in the US. But Singles’ Day, which originated in China, has also been gaining more and more traction over the last few years, so I thought I’d take a look at how both stack up in terms of search trends and sales data.

For reference, Black Friday will take place on Friday 25th November and is a day that’s dedicated to kicking off the Christmas shopping season – retailers offer big discounts (usually in store and online) on competitive products.

Singles’ Day will be on Friday 11th November. Allegedly, the event was originally meant to celebrate single people because the date 11/11 resembles ‘bare sticks’ (and therefore singletons?). However, in 2009, online retail giant Alibaba saw it as an opportunity – they hosted a mammoth sale on the same day. It caught on, and the rest is history.

Search Trends

When we compare the two in Google Trends, we can see that Black Friday is the clear winner, steadily increasing in popularity each year that it spikes.

However, when we take a look at Singles’ Day in isolation, we can see a similar trend that has occurred since 2012, with the spike increasing each year.

After taking a look at the spread of interest across the world, we can still see that Black Friday dominates (as expected).

So, after taking a deeper dive into the geographical regions, where should you be targeting for ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Singles’ Day’?

If we compare the top 20 countries ranking for ‘Black Friday’ against all countries ranking for ‘Singles’ Day’, we can see again how much opportunity there is globally for marketers who are targeting Black Friday customers.

black friday countriesSingles' Day countries

However, an interesting point on the Singles’ Day chart is that the United States also appears there, indicating it is popular outside of Asia.

If we dive deeper into ‘Singles’ Day’ by looking at cities, we can see that both New York and London appear, highlighting the increasing interest in the day from consumers in the west.

Singles' Day cities

After taking a look at UK search volume specifically, we can see that there is still a huge gap in terms of volume, but while ‘Black Friday’ is decreasing YoY (at 18%), ‘Singles’ Day’ has increased by 83% in the last year alone:

search vol

After taking a look at data in the United States, we can see a slightly different story in terms of both YoY increase for ‘Singles’ Day’ and ‘Black Friday’, where ‘Black Friday’ still comes top in terms of the increase in search rate. This also shows a gap between what’s popular in the UK and US:

search vol us

Globally, we can see that search volume for ‘Singles’ Day’ is increasing at a much higher rate than ‘Black Friday’:

search vol global

Spending Trends

Perhaps one of the most important trends to look at in terms of the business value of both sale days is the sales data. Here, for once, Singles’ Day is coming out on top – and by quite a lot.

Last year on Singles’ Day, Alibaba alone reported $14.3bn in sales, which beats Black Friday’s reported online sales of $2.72bn hands down.

In summary…

So if you’re a global business, even if you’re not based in China, it’s probably time to start taking note and capitalising on Singles’ Day. It may be behind Black Friday in worldwide trends, but it’s certainly leading the way in sales figures. And as we can see from the search data that it’s increasing in popularity YoY.

It is important to note that Alibaba has trademarked the term ‘Singles’ Day’ (along with other related terms) – however, it has indicated that it’s not interested in suing other companies that use these terms (more detail on that here).

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