It’s Singles Day again folks, the time when China loses its mind and goes on a shopping spree. This year seems to be particularly kind to e-commerce stores. China’s biggest e-commerce player, Alibaba has announced that merely 20 hours into the event and it has already managed to top its last year’s sales record of $14.3 billion.
The Alibaba shopping extravaganza started at midnight around the globe, on all of its online stores such as Taobao and Tmall. The Chinese company had organized a concert to kick start the legendary sale, and the star studded event featured Scarlett Johansson, David Beckham, Kobe Bryant and One Republic.
Within mere 52 seconds of the sale Alibaba had clocked 1 billion yuan ($146 million) in sales. The next milestone was hit when sales reached 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) in just 7 minutes. The company managed to hit $5bn in the first hour itself, as compared to the 90 minutes it took to hit that milestone in 2015. Within 15 odd hours, the company has broken its own record of last year’s $14.3 billion. And there is more to come.
The massive sales also saw some pretty interesting stats roll in, some from Alibaba and some from other sources. For instance, 84 percent of the Alibaba sales were made through mobile phones. Also, according to the company, it now has over 400 million registered users of its Alipay payment service. Out of which 270 million are active each month, using the service numerous purposes like paying for meals at restaurants, paying street vendors and of course, Singles’ Day sales.
In case you are unaware of it, Singles day is a festival widely celebrated by the young Chinese in celebration of the fact that they are single and proud. The date is also significant and November 11th (11/11) is chosen because the number “1” resembles a lonely individual. However, with e-commerce portals offering massive sales and discounts, it has become an occasion for people to splurge and shop.
Meanwhile, Alibaba is not the only one that is raking in some big dollars on Singles day. JD.com, an electronics focussed e-commerce portal has reported that it has received more orders in the first nine hours of trading on Friday than the whole of Singles Day 2014. According to one hypothesis, the excessive interest in sales is can be attributed in part to the fact that smartphones have managed to penetrate rural China and are now being extensively used for online purchases. Or perhaps there are just more singles this year — pun intended.
The event is also seeing huge participation from international brands. Apparently, there are almost 14,000 of these taking part in the Singles day sale and products from these accounted for as much as 30 percent of total Gross Merchandise Value at the last count.
Meanwhile, Alibaba expects to clock in over $20 Billion before the event concludes. We will keep you posted.