China’s Alibaba broke sales records during the 24-hour shopping event known as Singles Day, CNBC reported on Monday (Nov. 11).
The gross merchandise value (GMV), which shows Alibaba’s sales across all its eCommerce platforms, blew past 2018’s record of nearly $30.5 billion. Within 90 minutes, Alibaba’s GMV soared past $12 billion and exceeded the total reached on Singles Day in 2016.
The 11th annual Singles Day — also known as the Double 11 since it falls on Nov. 11 — kicked off at midnight in Singapore and Hong Kong with deep discounts on the eCommerce site.
In 2018, Singles Day sales at Alibaba surpassed U.S. consumer spending during one-day sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
This year, Alibaba offered more discounts and live-streamed on its site to boost spending. Live streaming with online personalities is a big part of the eCommerce shopping experience in China.
Last Wednesday (Nov. 6), for example, Kim Kardashian launched her new fragrance KKW during a live stream on Tmall.
Alibaba’s sales record happened amid a sluggish Chinese economy and increased eCommerce competition. Rivals JD.com and Pinduoduo also participated in the sales event, along with some eCommerce sites in Southeast Asia. JD.com started discounting ahead of the actual Singles Day event.
Jacob Cooke, chief executive officer of the eCommerce tech and marketing firm WPIC, told CNBC that all of the goods his company has managed are “way up over last year.”
“There is no downturn there. There is no evidence there is sentiment decline for U.S. brands,” Cooke told CNBC.
The U.S. was the second country by GMV in terms of countries selling to China, despite the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
Alibaba launched 2019’s 24-hour shopping event with a televised entertainment revue in Shanghai featuring acts like U.S. pop star Taylor Swift and local celebrity Jackson Yee.
The 2019 Singles Day marks the first year that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was not involved. He resigned in September as chairman.