Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

China's 'Singles' Day' on track to beat $25 billion sales record

China's 'Singles' Day' on track to beat $25 billion sales record

A giant screen displays sales on Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall for Singles' Day shopping spree in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 11, 2018. Last year, Alibaba reported a record $25.3 billion sales for the holiday, eclipsing sales from both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. It has already discounted the speaker again, in advance of this year's annual shopping event held on November 11.

By the one hour and 47 minute mark, that number had increased tenfold.

Less than 10 minutes later, or 12 minutes and 14 seconds into the sale, GMV surged to 36.2 billion yuan, outpacing its 2013 levels.

Within half an hour of Singles' Day, 30 brands, including Nike, Uniqlo, Adidas, Procter & Gamble, Xiaomi and Apple had crossed 100 million yuan in sales.

Alibaba was crucial in making Singles' Day, previously an obscure holiday observed by just a handful of companies, a massive cultural phenomenon over the last decade.

In the lead-up this year's event, there were concerns that Alibaba and other e-commerce sites like JD.com, which runs a similar sale, may be hit hard by new tariffs on United States goods.

Health supplements topped the list of most popular imported items purchased by consumers in China as of 12pm, followed by milk powder, facial masks and milk powder, according to Alibaba.

Below we have answered all your queries related to the Alibaba's Singles' Day sale.

Media captionAlibaba Singles Day: Dollars or data?

Singles Day began as a spoof event celebrated by unattached Chinese university students in the 1990s, countering Valentine's Day.

Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, China's Jack Ma speaks during a panel session on the second day of the World Economic Forum, on January 18, 2017 in Davos.

"People are swept up in the festivities", Professor Hong said in a phone interview.

Analysts said the sales continue to be cannibalised by competing events, including the "618" festival spearheaded by Alibaba competitor JD.com Inc in June.

"Having said that, there are more consumers who still enjoy shopping at double 11 than those that don't", he said. His Hangzhou-based company also uses the occasion to test the limits of its cloud computing, delivery and payments units.

This month, Alibaba cut its sales forecast for the year ending in March by around 5 percent, citing the wobbly economy and the trade war.

To compensate, the company will take in less commission from its platforms in the near term in order to retain brands and attract new buyers, it said.

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