Alibaba sets new $9.3bn sales record in 24 hrs on China’s ‘Singles’ Day’

Alibaba sets new $9.3bn sales record in 24 hrs on China’s ‘Singles’ Day’
China’s e-commerce giant grossed $9.3 billion (57.1 billion yuan) in just 24 hours during “Singles’ Day,” the world’s largest online shopping holiday. Sales skyrocketed from the $5.75 billion set in 2013.

The average sale was only worth $33.50, but hundreds of millions of orders from nearly 30,000 online merchants were placed during the event. In the first hour of the online shopping holiday, the company said it booked almost $2 billion in sales.

“We’re really witnessing history,” Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, told journalists Tuesday evening as the data was still pouring in.

China, the world’s second largest economy and biggest manufacturer, is starting to consume the goods it produces.

"You're seeing the unleashing of the consumption power of the Chinese consumer," he said.

Singles' Day is a celebration for unmarried people in China, and was adopted by the Alibaba Group in 2009. The holiday is a twist on the long-running tradition of Valentine’s Day. It was invented by students in the early 1990s. The date of Singles' Day, 11/11, is because of the association that single people have with the number one.

The holiday has surpassed America's Black Friday to become the world's most lucrative online shopping day. With more than $9 billion in sales, it is on track to becoming the most profitable manufactured holiday ever.

Since taking over the concept in 2009, Alibaba has encouraged retailers to offer massive discounts. The event has now become a week-long shopping and spending fest, culminating on November 11.

The success of Singles' Day is of global proportions; analyst Rob Peck told Market Watch, and was expected to generate more sales this year than the so-called US Cyber Week, which combines the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping sprees. Cyber Week attracted $2.9 billion in sales last year.

However, Singles' Day is not expected to generate more sales than the whole of the US winter holiday shopping season, which racked up $48 billion in sales in November and December 2013.

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said the group will try to reach consumers in more than 220 countries this year. But while Alibaba is successfully expanding the Singles’ Day brand abroad, analyst Youssef Squali from Cantor Fitzgerald said that there has been an increase in foreign companies trying to copy the idea.

Alibaba’s shares are up 73 percent since the company’s record $25 billion public offering in September.

Singles’ Day is not the only holiday which has been dreamt up by brand managers. In the US, they are known as “Hallmark holidays,” because of the sales they bring in for Hallmark Cards, Inc. For example, Sweetest Day was invented by Midwestern candy makers, but is rarely celebrated outside the Great Lakes region of the US.


Reuters/Aly Song

The success of Singles' Day is of global proportions; analyst Rob Peck told Market Watch that it is expected to generate more sales this year than the so-called US Cyber Week, which combines the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping sprees. Cyber Week attracted $2.9 billion in sales last year.

But Singles' Day revenues are not expected to generate more sales than the whole of the US winter holiday shopping season, which racked up $48 billion in sales in November and December 2013.

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said the group will try to reach consumers in more than 220 countries this year. But while Alibaba is successfully expanding the Singles’ Day brand abroad, analyst Youssef Squali from Cantor Fitzgerald noted that there has been an increase in foreign companies trying to copy the idea.

Alibaba’s shares are up 73 percent since the company’s record $25 billion public offering in September.

Singles’ Day is not the only holiday which has been dreamt up by brand managers. In the US, they are known as 'Hallmark holidays,' because of the sales they bring in for Hallmark Cards, Inc. For example, Sweetest Day was invented by Midwestern candy makers, but is rarely celebrated outside the Great Lakes region of the US.