Singles’ Day is back and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is breaking sales records yet again. This year, the world’s biggest online shopping event hit its first gross merchandise volume (GMV) benchmark – RMB10 billion – in just 96 seconds, shattering last year’s record by nearly half a minute. Within the first hour, Singles’ Day (also known as Shuang Shiyi, meaning ‘Double 11’) celebrated RMB91.2 billion in total sales, with consumers purchasing a wide range of products from food and appliances to luxury items.
South China Morning Post, which was acquired by Alibaba Group in 2016, reported that Chinese shoppers have already surpassed last year’s Singles’ Day total sales of RMB213.5 billion. As of 5.05pm, Alibaba recorded RMB217 billion in GMV, a figure that climbed to RMB268.4 billion by the time the clock struck midnight. This year’s new sales record is a 25% increase over last year.
With the US-China trade war having carried on for 16 months as well as an economic slowdown in the Chinese economy, Double 11’s performance is indicative of consumer sentiment, SCMP reports. Aside from Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall, the company is also factoring business-to-business e-commerce platforms like AliExpress and Southeast Asian e-commerce subsidiary Lazada into total GMV.
Aside from insane spending, 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is known for putting on quite the show in the lead up to the shopping spree, which features favorable discounts on a wide range of goods. This year, Taylor Swift headlined the 2019 gala at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The pop star was joined by a number of high-profile performers including G.E.M. and Jackson Yee from TFboys.
Image via Alizila
This year also marks the first Singles’ Day without co-founder Jack Ma at the helm, after the former chairman stepped down in September.
Among many Singles’ Day-related topics on Weibo, the hashtag #Double11WhatDidYouBuy (#双十一买什么#) has given readers an inside look at some consumers’ shopping carts. One Weibo user posted, “I’ve decided I need to stop,” sharing a photo of his spending total reaching RMB1,800 in the early hours of Monday. Expect to see more posts like that throughout the rest of the day.
UPDATE (Tuesday, November 12 10.46pm CST): This article has been updated to include the final tally of Singles’ Day 2019 sales.
UPDATE (Monday, November 11 5.13pm CST): This article has been updated to show that gross merchandise volume for Singles’ Day 2019 has surpassed last year’s total volume.
[Cover image via China Daily]