Alibaba, generate billions in sales during Singles' Day event in China

Published on
November 14, 2017

Chinese e-commerce marketplaces Alibaba and each generated billions in sales on Saturday, 11 November, also known as 11-11 or Singles' Day. The holiday is the Chinese equivalent to the popular U.S. and European shopping extravaganzas known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Approximately 1.48 billion shoppers forked over an estimated USD 25.3 billion (21.6 billion) on Alibaba for Singles' Day in 2017, a record-breaking increase of 39 percent over last year’s figures. According to the online purveyor, customers spent USD 1 billion (EUR 857 million) in eight minutes early Saturday morning, and by the two-hour mark, the e-commerce platform had raked in USD 12 billion (10.2 billion) in sales via its Alipay system.  

Meanwhile, saw its transaction volumes jump to USD 19.1 billion (16.3 billion) – a surge of more than 50 percent year-on-year— during its Singles' Day sales event, which began on 1 November to prevent “bottlenecks and give users a chance to spend more time online making purchasing decisions,” the company explained. 

Both consumer-facing platforms are known for selling a variety of items, from electronics to perishables such as seafood. reported that it sold more than 20,000 tons of fresh products, including 500,000 Thailand black tiger shrimp and more than two million hairy crabs. Among the top five imported fresh food product items sold during JD’s Singles' Day campaign were Vietnamese basa fish, Chilean frozen salmon, avocados, Australian sirloin, and Zespri kiwis.

Named for the collection of ones comprising its date (11/11), Singles' Day is considered the largest online shopping event in the world. It began as a sort of "anti-Valentine's Day," according to CNET, when China’s single consumer populace could "revel in their freedom from romantic attachments." Then, in 2009, Alibaba popularized the day into a 24-hour shopping spree extravaganza, with sellers on the e-commerce website offered their products at discounted prices for a limited time.  

While shoppers and the e-commerce engines themselves are relishing in the bounty of Singles' Day, environmental conservation groups including Greenpeace allege the event is responsible for generating enormous amounts of carbon dioxide emissions in 2016, and is a “catastrophe for the environment,”CNET reported.

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