Chinese consumers spent more than RMB 100 billion ($14.3 billion) in the first 64 minutes of e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Singles Day shopping event, breaking last year’s record of 107 minutes, the company said.

Why it matters: Started in 2009 as a promotional campaign targeting single, unmarried consumers, the Singles Day shopping event has evolved into an extravaganza for all netizens as well as a broader display of China’s immense spending power.

Details: Alibaba’s Nov. 11 shopping event, which began at midnight, recorded a total sales value of $26.38 billion as of 12 p.m. on Monday, according to the company.

  • It took 96 seconds for sales across Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms to reach RMB 10 billion (around $1.43 billion).
  • During peak hours, consumers placed as many as 544,000 orders on the platforms per second.
  • Alibaba said that it had moved all of its core systems to its cloud servers to prepare for the high number of requests.
  • As of 8 a.m. on Monday, stores on Tmall had sent out more than 100 million packages containing goods from the shopping event.
  • Jiang Fan, the president of Taobao and Tmall, said that this year’s shopping event is the most widely participated one so far, with daily active users of Taobao’s mobile app expected to surpass 500 million.
  • As in the past, business-to-business platforms such as AliExpress and Alibaba’s Southeast Asia e-commerce platform Lazada also participated in the event.
  • Total sales for last year’s event was $30.8 billion.

Context: Rival e-commerce platform JD also reported record-breaking sales for its own Nov.11 shopping festival.

  • Consumers spent RMB $16.6 billion on the platform from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11.
  • E-commerce platform Pinduoduo has yet to disclose its sales results.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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