Alibaba Breaks Singles Day Sales Record

Written by Haley Alber

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November 11, 2019

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Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) opened about 5% lower on Monday, even after the company delivered record sales on Singles Day, the world’s largest 24-hour shopping event.

Last year, Alibaba’s Singles Day sales eclipsed the spending by consumers during any single U.S. shopping holiday like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Gross merchandise value (GMV), a figure that shows sales across Alibaba’s shopping platforms, flew past last year’s near USD 30.5 Billion record. GMV reached USD 1.0 Billion in the event’s first minute and eight seconds and USD 12.0 Billion in the first hour.

Some of the top-selling products early in the day included the 5G version of Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro smartphone, as well as Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.

It’s not just major Chinese cities like ShangHai or Beijing that fueled Singles Day sales. Despite a slowing Chinese economy, smaller Chinese cities also played a major part in the action.

In the hours leading up to the shopping event, Alibaba’s video streaming platform Youku hosted its fifth annual countdown gala, which included performances from Taylor Swift and other celebrities. Hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, the gala was broadcast live across nearly 30 platforms and TV channels.

Fan Jiang, President of Alibaba platforms Taobao and Tmall, said the Singles Day shopping festival is to “stimulate consumption demand and support lifestyle upgrade in China through new brands and products.”

Alibaba held its first Singles Day in 2009 with participation from just 27 merchants as an event for merchants and consumers to raise awareness about the value of online shopping. The number of merchants has grown to more than 200,000 at this year’s event.

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