The Chinese counterpart to Amazon, Alibaba, set a record during its annual Singles Day event. The e-commerce giant sold $38 billion worth of goods during the 24-hour event. That equals a gross merchandise value (GMV) of 268.4 billion yuan, the equivalent of $38.3 billion U.S. dollars.
The figure surpassed last year’s Alibaba Singles Day, in which $30.5 billion in merchandise sold. The jump in sales represented nearly 26 percent in sales from 2018. On last year’s Singles Day, Hangzhou-based Alibaba had a 27 percent increase in revenue from 2017.
This year marked the 11th Singles Day for Alibaba. The event is also known as the Double 11 shopping festival because the event typically occurs on November 11. Many vendors offer discounts during the event, which begins at midnight Hong Kong time.
The newest record is timely as China deals with a slowing economy. Alibaba has also faced an increase in domestic rivals, including Pinduoduo and JD.com, who both have their own mega shopping events. JD.com had beefed up the competition by offering Double 11 discounts before November 11. And, other Southeast Asia e-commerce platforms have joined in as well.
Last year, the Singles Day shopping event exceeded sales from any singular U.S. shopping event, including Cyber Monday and Black Friday. This year, Alibaba increased the amount of discounted offerings to attract consumers. The platform also encouraged live streaming from its vendors, who more than delivered, as it’s become commonplace on e-commerce sites in China.
The top-selling products were Huawei’s 5G version of its Mate 30 Pro smartphone and Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro. Analysts had initially predicted sales of American products would lack momentum due to the trade war. However, many U.S. brands fared better than expected. While Chinese products led sales in the event, American products didn’t lag far behind, with apparel and jewelry raking in the most sales.
Sales began robust on Alibaba during its latest event. Within the first hour, the GMV stood at $12.01 billion.