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Alibaba's Singles Day swamps similar U.S. e-commerce 'days'

Alibaba's Singles Day e-commerce marketing event set another record, suggesting Asia's giant digital payments market shows no signs of slowing down.

Total sales were $38.4 billion, up from 2018's total of $30.7 billion, which was 40% higher than 2016's total. In the U.S., 2018’s Cyber Monday increased 19.7% from 2017. And for the entire five-day Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday shopping spree, Americans spent a total of $24.2 billion, well below Singles Day.

Alibaba reported on Twitter that it closed out the event with $38.4 billion (RMB268.4 billion) in sales across all of its platforms. The gross merchandise value (GMV) of sales settled through Alipay reached $1 billion (RMB7.0 billion) in the first 68 seconds of Singles Day and then broke through a $12 billion GMV total on Alipay in the first hour.
Singles Day started in 2009, and is also known as Double11. It is the world’s largest online shopping event and celebrates singlehood, or consumers who are not in a relationship. The event began in China, and has spread throughout Southeast Asia. Alibaba's Taobao sells Chinese goods to Chinese consumers, AliExpress sells goods from Chinese brands to international consumers, Tmall sells goods from global brands to Chinese consumers and Lazada caters to Southeast Asian markets.

The event was live-streamed on TV and included notable singers such as Taylor Swift, according to TechCrunch. Also in a live-streamed video, Kim Kardashian announced last week that her new fragrance brand, KKW, would be sold on Tmall for the event. While similar Amazon’s Prime Day, the big difference is how consumers are paying for their purchases. Alibaba customers primarily use Alipay to make purchases, while Amazon largely relies on cards.

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