Alibaba Breaks Record With $38 Billion On Singles Day Sale

At the end of the 24-hour spree, Alibaba reported sales totaled up to $38 billion. For several years, the shopping frenzy has far exceeded Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The festival is the one annual retail event that luxury brands cannot miss if they want to get the most out of the Chinese market.

Singles’ Day began as a spoof event celebrated by unattached Chinese university students in the 1990s. In China, it’s called “Double 11,” because the date it takes place, November 11, contains four 1’s when written numerically, has been setting new records on its own 11th anniversary.

This year, on November 11, Chinese consumers had spent a billion dollars snapping up bargains online. They had spent $14.3 billion within 60 minutes, about half the total that was recorded last year during the Thanksgiving shopping season in the United States. The total from this year’s Singles’ Day event beat the previous record of $30.8 billion that was set only a year ago.

Alibaba has its sights set on International sales and this year merchants from over 200 countries participated in their one day sale. This one day event has swollen into the world’s largest online shopping festival.

The e-commerce giant Alibaba started marketing it as the best day of the year to go crazy on its shopping websites, Taobao and Tmall, back in 2009. But most of the  people now stock up on household goods in particular, buying a year’s worth of shampoo or toilet paper on November 11, when online retailers offer discounts and coupons. Some of the most purchased new releases were Huawei’s Mate 30 smartphone and iPhone 11.

Orders placed via Alipay on Alibaba’s e-commerce and service platforms, including overseas units Lazada and AliExpress, hit the 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) milestone less than 64 minutes after midnight, more than 40 minutes faster than last year. By 8 AM, the figure had surpassed 150 billion yuan.

In the shopping event, Fan Jiang, President of Taobao and Tmall said, “Our goal is to stimulate consumption demand and support lifestyle upgrades in China through new brands and products.”

This year the company snagged Taylor Swift, it’s most high-profile headliner yet, to perform three songs from her new album Lover, which sold more copies in China than the U.S. at the 11.11 Countdown Gala in Shanghai.

More than 12 million people watched American reality TV star Kim Kardashian live-streaming with Chinese influencer Viya on Tmall to promote her KKW beauty line. She sold 15,000 bottles of perfume in seconds, according to Alibaba.

Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand managing director Maggie Zhou said, “An event such as Singles Day is not just an opportunity for brands to sell to the Chinese consumers, but also to help international companies enter the Chinese market.”

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