Singles' Day is celebrated by Alibaba on November 11 every year since its inception for its auspicious numerology in Chinese culture.
On Singles' Day, hundreds of thousands of product are put on sale at highly discounted prices which are very lucrative for buyers.
Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma took steps to highlight the magnitude of the sale by having Scarlett Johansson, David and Victoria Beckham, Kobe Bryant, and One Republic present at the gala venue.
The sale was a total of RMB 120.7 billion or $17.8 billion.
In the first 40 seconds, the retail giant had $100 million in sales. The sales hit $1 billion just under five minutes.
Alibaba, a synergy of technological and social innovation
84% of the transactions were made by Chinese citizens on their mobile phone. Alibaba attributed the high increase in purchases to shopping as becoming a dominant lifestyle trend in China. The retail giant claimed it has 400 million registered users for its online payment service – Alipay.
Jack Ma said: “It’s not thinking about us as an ordinary company. It’s about thinking of us as an economy.
“Alibaba is the 20th largest economy in the world” he noted.
The most popular brands among the purchases were Apple, Nike, New Balance, Playboy, and Skechers.
To facilitate sales in rural areas, Alibaba set up 16,000 service centers to help villagers order products online.
Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said: “Every form of retail in China is trying to find a digital transformation.
"So where’s this all headed? What we believe, is that at the end of this, online and offline, should be fully integrated.”
This grand, shopping spree showcased Alibaba’s holistic approach to 21st century shopping. It provided a platform for mobile users to make the purchases conveniently. It provided internet support to rural areas that lacked the access. It is a laudable feat to combine social and technological innovation to skyrocket commercial ventures.
The massive sale outperforms the combined sale of all US online retailers on Cyber Monday, which netted $2.68 billion in 2015, and Black Friday which netted a further $4.45 billion in 2015 as well.
In 2015, Alibaba grossed $14.3 billion on the Single’s Day.