Alibaba Smashes 11/11 Singles Day Record with $9.3 Billion in Sales


He may find it a “great pain” to be China’s richest man, but Jack Ma has nobody to blame but himself. After all, the Alibaba CEO has created a global sales event bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

China’s online retail giant made $9.3 billion in sales during this year’s 11/11 Singles Day, blowing past last year’s record $8 billion haul by handling 278 million transactions, 43% of which were placed on mobile devices.

By 12:17am, 17 minutes into the Nov. 11th annual event, Alibaba had clocked its first $1 billion in sales, passing its second billion just 12 seconds after the one-hour mark. Seven and a half hours into the day, sales passed the $10 billion mark. [more]

“You’re seeing the unleashing of the consumption power of the Chinese consumer,” said Alibaba Group executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, according to the BBC. “We really are witnessing history here because we are seeing the shift of the economy from focused on the state sector to consumption.” 

Last year’s Singles Day, Alibaba reported $5.75 billion in sales across its Taobao Marketplace and, while Cyber Monday generated $2.29 billion in U.S. sales last year.

Of the early sales today, 48 percent of the initial $1 billion in goods—and 46 percent of the first $2 billion—were mobile purchases by smartphones and tablets across Alibaba’s sites, TechCrunch reports. ( also participated.)

One contributing factor to the marked increase in this year’s sales is that Alibaba’s saw Western brands including Tesla, Topshop and Costco open online boutiques to sell directly to Chinese consumers. 

This year’s Singles Day included participation of more than 27,000 global brands such as Japanese label Muji, Spanish fashion retailers Desigual and Zara, Britain’s Topshop, and American outdoor clothier The North Face.

“Chinese users now plan their shopping around this promo day,” said Hans Tung, managing partner of GVC Capital (an early investor in Alibaba), according to TechCrunch. “They have come to expect great deals. And are willing to wait for it to buy. So this sales record will likely be broken every year.” 

Originally called “Bachelors Day,” the holiday was invented in the 1990s as an anti-Valentine’s Day ploy, and when Alibaba took over in 2009, retailers were encouraged to promote big discounts.

“They say behind every successful man, there’s a woman quietly supporting him. Behind Jack Ma, there’re tens of millions of female shopaholics,” joked one Weibo user, per the BBC.

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[Images via Alibaba, Forbes]


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