Chinese ecommerce titan Alibaba raked in a record $38.4 billion during its annual Singles’ Day online shopping extravaganza on Monday, beating last year’s figure by $7 billion.
The total number of delivery orders during the world’s biggest shopping event also reached a new high: 1.3 billion, up from 812 million in 2018.
Almost 300 brands each sold goods worth more than 100 million Chinese yuan ($14.3 million), including Apple, Nike, Estée Lauder, and Giorgio Armani, while the top 10 countries selling to China through Alibaba’s cross-border platforms included the U.S., Japan, Korea, Australia, Germany, France, the U.K., New Zealand, Italy, and Canada.
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) November 11, 2019
Singles’ Day originated in China in the early 1990s as a way for those without a partner to enjoy special events together. The 11.11 date was selected for the occasion as it represents — you guessed it — a bunch of singles.
In 2009, Alibaba transformed it into an online shopping festival that now pulls in way more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined as bargain hunters hit the buy button on a vast range of goods. Other ecommerce companies such as JD.com have also jumped on board to push sales through their own platforms.
A glitzy TV show launched Monday’s event, with special guests Taylor Swift and Asian pop star G.E.M. putting in live performances before on-screen promotions of numerous products teased shoppers into parting with their hard-earned cash.
Sales reached $1 billion in the first minute alone, before hitting $10 billion in just half an hour. By the end of the day, revenue reached a colossal $38.4 billion — exceeding last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, which generated $6.2 billion and $7.9 billion, respectively.
Following increasing scrutiny of its green credentials, Alibaba was keen to make changes to its enormous logistics operation to ease pressure on the environment.
“Green is the most important keyword for this 11.11,” Fan Jiang, president of Alibaba-owned shopping sites Taobao and Tmall, said in a release.
Efforts included the installation of around 75,000 recycling stations across China to deal with customers’ packaging. Shoppers were also rewarded with “green energy” points, which can be redeemed to plant trees, for their recycling efforts.
Alibaba has also established November 20 as National Cardboard Box Recycling Day in China to encourage shoppers to clean up responsibly after Singles’ Day.