HANGZHOU, China – Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba posted sales of $38.4 billion on Monday to mark its biggest-ever Singles Day, which can best be described as a combination of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on steroids.
The sale began at midnight Sunday and transactions blew past the 2018 figure, $30.8 billion, with more than seven hours left, and the total represented an increase of 24.8 percent over last year, which in turn saw a 27 percent jump from 2017.
Alibaba started the tradition of Singles Day promotions just a decade ago, yet the event typically posts number that dwarf combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the United States – $14.12 billion in 2018.
Preliminary data from Alibaba list more than 1 million purchases of products from a range of 200,000 brands, most of them made from smart phones.
Many buyers spend the weeks before Singles Day piling up items in their virtual carts, so it was no surprise to see sales reach $1 billion by 12:01 am Monday and $13 billion after the first hour.
Singles Day originated as an unofficial anti-Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners, and it’s observed on Nov. 11 because of the symbolism of the date in numbers: 11/11.
Alibaba’s success with Singles Day has encouraged competing Chinese e-commerce sites and brick-and-mortar retailers to join in, while Alibaba subsidiary Lazada offers Singles Day discounts in countries outside China, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.