Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said on Monday that sales for its annual Singles’ Day shopping blitz hit 91.2 billion yuan ($19 billion) within the first hour, up 32 per cent from last year’s early haul of 69 billion yuan.
Akin to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, Singles’ Day has been promoted as a shopping fest by Alibaba chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang since 2009, growing rapidly to become the world’s biggest online sales event.
Also known as “Double Eleven”, the festival’s name originates from the calendar date 11/11, with the four ones referencing being single.
Alibaba saw sales worth $US30 billion on its platforms on Singles’ Day last year, dwarfing $US7.9 billion US online sales for Cyber Monday. Yet the 27 per cent sales growth was the lowest in the event’s 10-year history, spurring a search for fresh ideas.