This year’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza has already smashed its own records, with Alibaba reporting 84 billion RMB (nearly 12 billion USD) in sales in the first hour, up almost 22 percent from 69 billion RMB in 2018. The whole thing was punctuated in classic Singles’ Day fashion, with glitzy performances by international and local artists, from Taylor Swift to Jackson Yee. This year’s revenue increase comes as a surprise to some observers who expected Singles’ Day figures to level off in the face of China’s current economic slowdown, trade tensions with the United States, and the holiday’s first year without Jack Ma at the helm.
Here’s a quick list of the statistics thus far:
China Explained: How Singles’ Day Became the World’s Biggest Shopping Event
November 11 (11/11) began as a holiday for singles in the 1990s. The holiday became popular on college campuses, and in 2009, Alibaba began getting online merchants to mark the day with discounts. Within several years, the date had morphed into the world’s biggest shopping event, with sales surpassing those from Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
While sales records have been broken every year since the event began in 2009, last year’s increase from 25 billion USD to 30 billion was the lowest percent increase to date. Alibaba claims that consumers spent 38.4 billion USD for Singles’ Day 2019 (though this includes pre-orders) — a new record.
This year’s numbers might serve as an indication that Chinese consumers are still willing to spend, in spite of the country’s slowing economy.
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