Singles Day record shattered – with 10 hours to go

Singles Day was barely halfway through before last year’s record US$9.3 billion was eclipsed.

By 2pm China Standard Time, total GMV from the massive 11.11 sales had exceeded US$10 billion (RMB 63.60 billion). Remarkably, mobile GMV accounted for 70 per cent of the total.

In the first hour alone, from midnight to 1am, some $3.9 billion was spent by shoppers eager to snap up discounted items with limited availability. The RMB 50 billion threshold was reached by 10am SCT.

According to the website, which reports news from the Alibaba empire, $5 billion (approximately RMB 31.8 billion) of GMV was settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces in the first 90 minutes. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 72 per cent of total GMV.

After announcing that roughly halfway through the 2015 sale that Alibaba had already topped its 11.11 GMV results (in US dollars) from the 2014 sale, Alibaba Group president Michael Evans told a group of journalists that the international response to the sale “has been terrific so far.” During the 11.11 festival, Alibaba’s online platforms are facilitating sales not only for overseas merchants selling to Chinese consumers but also for Chinese retailers selling to consumers in dozens of countries though AliExpress, the company’s global B2C website.

This is the second year Alibaba has been promoting the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival internationally, and the 2105 festival is “the most international (sale) yet,” Evans said.

More than 30,000 brands from 25 countries are represented at the sale in 2015, including P&G, Unilever, Burberry, Estee Lauder, Zara, Huggies, Macy’s, Costco, Apple, Nike, Friso, Topshop, and Uniqlo. According to Brian Buchwald, co-founder and CEO of Bomoda, a consumer research company in New York, growing participation by global merchants represents “a really fascinating evolution” for 11.11.

“We’ve seen major retailers and brands in Europe as well as in North America really start to focus on this moment,” Buchwald told Bloomberg News.

“Singles Day is something of a Hallmark holiday, like the ones we have in the US,” said Patrick J. Murphy, a professor at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. “But it has evolved into a very popular shopping day, on par with our Black Friday.”

In other highlights:

  • In the hours leading up to 11.11 sale’s start, almost 130 million users visited the MobileTaobaoapp, exceeding the peak volume during the 2014 11.11 Shopping Festival.
  • The total number of mobile buyers was more than 27 million in the first hour.
  • The total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded $1 billion (approximately RMB 6.36 billion) within the first eight minutes.
  • Total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded the total GMV of Alibaba’s 2012 11.11 Shopping Festival of $3.1 billion within 31 minutes.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said in 2015 Alibaba Group “has transformed 11.11 into an unprecedented mobile shopping experience”.

“Over the course of the 24-hour shopping marathon, consumers will have a new surprise every hour that has been especially tailored for mobile users. The whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption this November 11.

“At each 11.11, Alibaba’s infrastructure is put to the test and our technological capabilities are taken to the next level. Last year, we handled a record-breaking 80,000 orders per second at peak. This year, we expect to handle 120,000 orders and 60,000 payments at peak per second. It will be a proud achievement for us.”

On the eve of Singles Day, Alibaba hosted a four-hour TV variety show that included a videotaped appearance by actor Kevin Spacey, appearing in character as President Frank Underwood from the Netflix series House of Cards.

Alizila is running a live update throughout 11.11 which can be viewed here.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.