When China began celebrating Singles’ Day on November 11 ten years ago, it was a sort of celebration to include people still looking for love.
A decade later, and it’s become the country’s equivalent to US’ Black Friday, thanks mostly to the efforts of mega-corporation Alibaba.
Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma – Reuters
Ever since the company began offering sales discounts on the special day in 2009, it’s become the biggest e-commerce event in the country, now achieving almost double the sales of the US’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
This year, Alibaba reported revenue of $25.3 billion from Singles’ Day sales, a 40 percent increase from last year’s numbers. And that doesn’t even include purchases from special promotional events for Singles’ Day that began a week earlier. The e-commerce platform hit a record-breaking $18 billion in just 13 hours during the Saturday event, beating the $17.8 billion revenue it made in 24 hours in 2016. To put that into perspective, US sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday made a total of just $12.8 billion last year.
In India, online retail sales in the entirety of 2016 were estimated to be only about $16 billion.
Alibaba reports that just three minutes after the Singles’ Day event began at midnight, it had racked up $1.5 billion in sales, as people rushed to grab their favourite products with unbeatable discounts. The company says it was processing approximately 256,000 payment transactions per second during the event, more than 90 percent of which came from smartphone shoppers. The meteoric rise of the online shopping industry in the country has put Alibaba on par with Amazon’s value as far as e-commerce platforms are concerned. It’s also made founder and executive chairman Jack Ma one of Asia’s richest men, with a net worth $37.4 billion.