Published: Mon, November 11, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Alibaba sets new Singles' Day record

Alibaba sets new Singles' Day record

Chinese customers spent billions of dollars during the opening hours of the country's annual "Singles' Day" frenzy Monday, the world's biggest 24-hour shopping event that was kicked off by USA megastar Taylor Swift.

Alibaba netted sales worth US$30 billion on its platforms on Singles' Day past year, dwarfing the US$7.9 billion United States online sales for Cyber Monday.

The shopping festival, also known as Double 11, is referred as Singles" Day because its date, 11/11 (November 11) consists of four "ones', representing four singles.

Alibaba said sales hit $1 billion in the first minute and eight seconds and reached 158.31 billion yuan ($22.6 billion) in the first nine hours, up 25% from the same point past year.

While the company's ecommerce marketplaces Tmall and Taobao are traditionally the mainstays of the annual shopping extravaganza, this year's festival will also include business-to-business ecommerce platforms like AliExpress as well as Lazada, Alibaba's Southeast Asian e-commerce subsidiary, as the company taps global consumers.

Move over Prime Day, Alibaba's shopping holiday just set new spending records.

The day was temporary relief to retailers facing fading demand as Chinese consumers anxious over slowing economic growth and the tariff war with Washington tighten their belts. Besides Alibaba's Tmall and the brands' own platforms, rival sites such as JD.com, Suning.com and Pinduoduo are running their own Singles' Day campaigns.

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It took just 96 seconds for Alibaba Group to net the 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) worth of gross merchandise volume at midnight of Nov 11 as the internet conglomerate takes the annual shopping bonanza into its second decade.

Singles' Day emerged as a uniquely Chinese antidote to the sentimentality surrounding Valentine's Day.

Chinese consumers will spend 54% more this year than in 2018, but 78% said they would think twice about buying US products due to loyalty to their country, AlixPartners found in a recent survey of more than 2,000 Chinese consumers.

"Yellowtail in Australia is already working with us to do some product innovation to understand the Chinese consumer, about the wines they like, and how to produce some more suitable products for the Chinese market", Zhou said.

JD.com manages its own logistics network, a FedEx-style parcel delivery service which it started previous year. The Singles' Day impresario passes the baton this year to Jiang Fan, president of e-commerce marketplaces Taobao and Tmall, and a potential successor to Zhang himself.

Alongside this year's shopping festival, Alibaba Group announced it will convert 75,000 of its locations into permanent recycling stations and offer express pickup for used cardboard boxes and wrapping. On this day each year, Alibaba pushes its technology and services, such as its cloud computing systems, to the limit.

This year's concert featured Taylor Swift, just months after performing at a similar Prime Day concert for Amazon in the USA, as well as Chinese pop stars such as G.E.M. and TFBoys' Jackson Yee. It also projects 50 million online buyers in Southeast Asia alone during Singles' Day.

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