Alibaba just sold over $1 billion of merchandise in 8 minutes in China’s largest online shopping day


The world’s biggest online shopping holiday, “Singles’ Day” kicked off yesterday morning (Nov. 11) in China—and the numbers were immediately massive. Chinese e-retailer Alibaba’s merchandise sales exceeded $1 billion within the event’s first eight minutes, beginning at midnight in Beijing.


That’s rocket speed compared to last year, when the company took an hour to sell 11 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) worth of goods—and is a stark illustration of how much bigger China’s online shopping market is than the US’s.


The final sales tally over 24 hours was 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion), an increase of about 60% from last year.


By comparison, the US’s largest online shopping event, “Cyber Monday” brought in over $2 billion in sales from desktops during the entire day, ComScore reported. (The majority of Americans still do their online shopping on a desktop.)


The day got off to a roaring start. By 8am in Beijing, eight hours into the event, Alibaba had processed 41.7 billion yuan ($6.56 billion) in sales. That’s more than Americans bought on desktops in the entire five day period between Thanksgiving and the US’s “Cyber Monday” last year—and about $2 billion more than Netflix’s or Macy’s overall online sales last year.


Then the numbers just kept getting bigger:

  • Just before 10AM, Alibaba processed more than 50 billion yuan ($7.86 billion), more than the NFL’s annual revenues in 2014.
  • By noon, the company claimed it surpassed 57.1 billion yuan—its sales orders from the previous year.
  • And just before 2PM, the company announced it had sold more than 63.6 billion yuan worth of goods, just over $10 billion, more than car maker Ferrari was valued in its recent IPO.

Singles’ Day, held on November 11 every year in China, ostensibly sprang from a university student celebration of male and female bachelorhood. It has since been transformed by Alibaba into an online sales bonanza.



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