Alibaba's Singles Day beats Amazon Prime Day

Jeannie Matthews
November 12, 2018

During the first hour of the giant shopping event, known as Singles' Day or 11.11, referring to the date November 11, the top three brands sold were Xiaomi, Apple and Dyson, while the top categories were audio equipment, mobile phones and diapers. This is 21 per cent higher than the 57 billion yuan that the Alibaba Singles' Day sale brought in its early phase a year ago.

To be clear, GMV exceeded Dollars 1 billion in just the first minute of Alibaba's annual 11.11 Single's Day sale.

Singles' Day had topped $6.5 billion in sales 20 minutes into its 11/11 event, which kicked off at midnight on Sunday in Shanghai.

Less than 10 minutes later, or 12 minutes and 14 seconds into the sale, GMV surged to 36.2 billion yuan, outpacing its 2013 levels.

Alibaba had already generated more sales - $4.68 billion - just 10 minutes into Singles' Day 2018 than Amazon is estimated to have reached during its record-setting 2018 Prime Day event.

Alibaba was crucial in making Singles' Day, previously an obscure holiday observed by just a handful of companies, a massive cultural phenomenon over the last decade. Tech companies are antsy about the government's more interventionist attitude toward big business.

The Twitter-like Weibo platform was blanketed with Singles Day-related posts today, from users proudly proclaiming that they had resisted the shopping urge this year to those who cheerfully listed an array of mundane purchases. Last year, the top three non-Chinese Singles' Day markets were Russian Federation, tiny Hong Kong and the US - in that order.

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Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who will step down as chairman in less than a year, attended the start of the gala in Shanghai and appeared in a video message in which he wrapped up live hair crabs, a popular online purchase.

Media captionAlibaba Singles Day: Dollars or data?

Analysts said the sales continue to be cannibalised by competing events, including the "618" festival spearheaded by Alibaba competitor JD.com Inc in June.

Alibaba's chief executive Daniel Zhang said Singles Day showed how strong Chinese consumer power was. His Hangzhou-based company also uses the occasion to test the limits of its cloud computing, delivery and payments units.

Earlier this month it revised down its full-year sales outlook by 4-6 percent, sending further chills through the company's stock price, which has dropped roughly 16% this year after nearly doubling in 2017.

Earlier this month, Alibaba revised down its full-year revenue forecast, sending a chill through investors, as it said sales of big-ticket items would be impacted.

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