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Alibaba’s ‘Singles Day’ rings up $9.3 billion in new record

November 11, 2014, 1:19 PM UTC
Photograph by Bloomberg/Getty Images

Alibaba said it has sold $9.3 billion in goods during the Chinese e-commerce giant’s “Singles Day” promotion, an event the company concocted in 2009 that is reminiscent of Black Friday or Cyber Monday in the United States.

The sales were a record for Alibaba, which provided hourly updates throughout the day. Last year, Alibaba (BABA) recorded about $5.8 billion in retail sales on “Singles Day.” The figure was still under $1 billion as recently as 2011.

To put the sales figure in comparison to the major sales events in the United States, brick-and-mortar retail sales totaled $12.3 billion on Thanksgiving and Black Friday last year. Cyber Monday’s online sales were nearly $2.3 billion in 2013. Cyber Monday is the first full working day after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Alibaba’s shopping promotion, which is also referred to as “11.11,” kicked off in 2009 when 27 merchants participated in the event. This year, Alibaba said more than 27,000 brands are participating. On Tuesday, the company said it recorded 278.5 million logistics orders, up from the 254 million orders processed on the same day in 2013.
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Though the transaction value of the promotion has soared since it began in 2009, research firm IDC noted that Alibaba set an “ambitious” target of more than $8.1 billion in sales for November 11 this year. But IDC expects Alibaba at the end of the day will overachieve that target and report $8.65 billion in transactions.

Alibaba’s “Singles Day” promotion is also expanding beyond its own internally developed focus. Other e-commerce players have aimed to piggyback on the sales event’s success, IDC has reported, efforts that should only minimally affect Alibaba as it has far more comprehensive collection of goods.