Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba smashed its 2017 record, making $1 billion in sales in just 85 seconds and then topped around $30 billion over a 24-hour period, smashing last year’s record of about $24 billion. The number was up 27% on last year’s total current exchange rates and Alibaba saw the total number of delivery records reach 1.042 billion.
Although the shopping event broke records in e-commerce sales, it was the lowest annual increase in the history of Singles’ Day. Observers think that as the event matures and becomes more established, the growth rate will slow down.
Japan, the United States, and South Korea were the top three countries from which Singles’ Day shoppers bought products this year. For the first time, Alibaba’s Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada offered Singles’ Day discounts to consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, expanding the reach of the event this year.
Last year, the Chinese company expanded the event to the Western market, too, and Alibaba said that 40% of the total purchases were of international brands this year.
Downloads of its app AliExpress grew in the UK and US, indicating the broadened reach of the retail event.
What is Singles’ Day?
Singles’ Day is an informal holiday in China celebrating the nation’s single people and emerged as an antidote to the sentimentality of Valentine’s Day. Alibaba started to offer Singles’ Day discounts in 2009 and has since turned the event into the world’s biggest online retail event. This year’s total was more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s totals combined, according to Bloomberg.
Alibaba took a multi-country, multi-platform approach this year in the hope to beat last year’s records. “Over the last two years, we have pioneered the concept of New Retail to accelerate the digital transformation of the offline,” said CEO Zhang in a statement.
As part of the event, Alibaba aired its gala TV show, which featured Mariah Carey and Cirque du Soleil, to launch the event the Saturday before. According to the company, 250 million people watched the event on TV, with a further 25 million watching the stream online.