What just happened? Black Friday and Cyber Monday might bring in billions of dollars, but their combined sales still pale in comparison to Alibaba’s Singles' Day. Its annual 11.11 shopping event, which began at midnight last night, has already passed $25 billion and is on course to beat last year’s $30 billion record.
Alibaba reported that its gross merchandise volume had generated over $18 billion just two hours into the event, and it has now passed $25 billion. The company added that it took just 8 minutes for order rates to peak, at 544,000 orders per second.
Not only is the 2019 sale set to surpass last year’s $30 billion record, but Alibaba also predicts the number of users taking part will be up from 400 million to 500 million—and this is despite the trade war with the US that’s having an effect on China's already shaky economy. It’s worth noting, however, that this year’s YoY growth rate is expected to be lower than in previous sales.
Singles' Day, also called Double Eleven as a reference to the date on which it falls, is said to have been started by students in 1993—the four ‘ones’ in the date represent four singles. This anti-Valentine’s Day unofficial holiday is a celebration for people who aren’t in relationships, and many companies, including Alibaba, now use it as the basis of sales events that target younger consumers.