The world’s greatest online shopping party will be coming back to China on Wednesday. Singles’ Day as it’s called, overtakes Black Friday and Cyber Monday for online spending now, and is set to be bigger than ever this year.

Alibaba makes $9.2 billion on Singles' Day

Alibaba makes $9.2 billion on Singles’ Day Image by Charles Chan / CC BY 2.0

It began on 11 November 1993 by a group of singleton students who wanted an excuse to go on a spending spree on themselves, Singles’ Day, also known as the Double Eleven to most Chinese people, is an occasion for seemingly endless online shopping. When the online shopping giant Alibaba joined in 2009 it was still relatively small, with only 27 merchants involved in it. Since then however, it’s gone up to 27,000 merchants, with Alibaba making profits of $9.3 billion.

China’s postal service is taken by storm every year, with about 1.7 million foot soldiers and 400,000 vehicles delivering 760 million packages across China.

And this year it’s set to reach new heights. According to The Guardian, 90% of respondents in a poll carried out by China’s Jinan University and the Information Times newspaper said they would be taking part in this year’s Singles’ Day. The rise in the number of shoppers is being attributed to the ubiquituous presence of smart phones in China, where there are now 910 million smart phones.

Singles’ Day kicks off tomorrow.