China's smartphone-wielding masses yesterday unleashed billions of dollars in e-commerce spending as they rushed to snap up bargains on "Singles' Day", billed as the world's biggest one-day online shopping festival. That means total sales for the day could well be double that or more.
Since then, the online sales extravaganza has become an annual 24-hour shopping ritual, and the largest of its kind in the world.
In two minutes of sales time, Alibaba's gross merchandise volume totaled $1 billion. More than 140,000 brands will participate this year, Alibaba said.
This was 29 percent higher than 2016, when the online shopping company made $17.8 billion.
The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become a key date for manufacturers and retailers in the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.
More than 90 percent of Alipay orders were placed via mobile, the majority on Alibaba's main e-commerce platform Taobao.com.
Alibaba started promoting Singles' Day in 2009 as a 24-hour event similar to Black Friday in the United States. We're just a small team working extra-hard to help you cut to the chase on the most important news from around the world, so we'd appreciate your help spreading the word. Alibaba's processors were handling nearly 260,000 transactions per second, according to Bloomberg.
"This study provides a deep dive into the largest e-commerce market in the world".
"Using past growth figures, Hylink have predicted that Singles' Day is expected to generate over US$21 billion in sales this year".
A decade ago, November 11th was a tongue-in-cheek cultural "celebration" of single people in China. It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in South-east Asia and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia.
Besides, the Chinese e-commerce giant has now revealed that about $12 billion worth goods have been sold within two hours of the launch of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.