The Story:

Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba says that it hit a record $18 billion in sales during its Singles Day special online event, and that’s just until shortly after midday on Saturday. That means total sales for the day could well be double that or more.

What is Singles day?

Singles Day is a Chinese holiday to celebrate the single status of the nation’s unmarried population.

In 2009 Alibaba starting a cybershopping holiday event around it similar to Cyber Monday in the United States.

Since then, the online sales extravaganza has become an annual 24-hour shopping ritual, and the largest of its kind in the world.

Why It Matters:

  • The surge in Alibaba’s sales is a vote of confidence for the e-commerce industry around the world, especially in the United States.

  • The two largest economies of the world have already witnesses robust e-commerce growth over the past decade, and Alibaba’s success on Singles Day highlights the very long growth runway that the industry still enjoys.

  • In 2017, Alibaba took just half the time to match its 2016 sales volume, and doubling the figure this year is a definite possibility. Tripling it is not out of the question, either.

How Fast is Fast?

  • Alibaba’s platforms saw a billion dollars in sales volume hit in just two minutes.
  • After 5 minutes it reached $5 billion; in one hour it recorded $10 billion.
  • Just a little past halfway through the day Alibaba crossed last year’s GMV (gross merchandise value) of $17.7 billion.

 

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