China easily retained its status as the king of retail e-commerce on Saturday when the Alibaba Group took just over 13 hours to smash its 24-hour Singles’ Day sales tally from last year, with total takings exceeding three times the combined online sales of US$6.7 billion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US.
At 11 pm last night, with an hour to go before the digital cash registers closed for the day, the total gross merchandise volume (GMV) – or the amount of sales transacted on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms – was 168 billion yuan (US$25.3 billion), compared to US$18.1 billion last year.
Dubbed the Double Eleven or 11.11, the online shopping spree has been held by Alibaba every November 11 since 2009, with brands from China and around the world offering steep discounts on its Taobao market place and Tmall online stores. The practice started in the 1990s when Chinese university students began celebrating being single and splurging on themselves in reaction to society placing so much emphasis on relationships.
An early glimpse of the buying frenzy was seen as consumers spent 10 billion yuan within only three minutes on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms after the shopping spree kicked off just after midnight Saturday…. see more