Singles’ Day Sales Figures Shatter Records

A Tmall graphic marking the end of Singles' Day. (Tmall)

A Tmall graphic marking the end of Singles’ Day. (Tmall)

Initial e-tail sales numbers are already being reported for China’s just-ended online shopping extravaganza Singles’ Day, showing yet another record-breaking year. Even though these sky-high results were completely expected, it doesn’t make them any less impressive when you look at the numbers on a global scale.

E-commerce giant Alibaba smashed last year’s records for the holiday, which we already know thanks to the company’s “big data” situation room that it set up for reporters to watch the real-time sales take place in all their glory.

The count for Tmall.com alone stands at a stunning $5.7 billion, a number which is expected to grow once final sales are tallied. To put that in perspective, last year’s tally for Taobao.com and Tmall combined was $3.06 billion. The United States’ Cyber Monday seems like small change compared to these numbers, taking in only $1.25 billion in sales in total last year.

According to Tech in Asia:

The sales on Alibaba’s Tmall involved over 20,000 merchants on its online marketplace. That massive figure counts only Tmall customers who paid via the company’s own Alipay (like Paypal), so the total spending amount will be higher once all payment methods are totaled up. The most popular store on Tmall all day was the official shop of Xiaomi, China’s upstart phone-maker. […]

Speaking earlier this evening to a hall full of reporters at Alibaba’s HQ, founder and chairman Jack Ma (pictured below) said, “This year’s 11/11 figure, whether it’s 30 or 35 billion [RMB], will still be a shock to business owners. Now, a lot of malls have more staff than customers. […] Web shopping [will cause] local retail prices to come down, and then there’ll be price adjustment in the Chinese market.”

Equally amazing is the small amount of time it took to surpass Cyber Monday this year. For Alibaba, it was only about two hours:

Last year, US netizens spent a total of $1.46 billion online in one day, while Tmall customers exceeded that at about 2am, after about two hours of snapping up discounts.

By midday, after 12 hours of hectic buying, Tmall’s customers have spent $2.86 billion (RMB 17.5 billion) on the online marketplace. That figure counts customers using Alibaba’s own Alipay for payments – the figure will be higher once the company counts up total sales revenue.

Tmall smashed its own 24-hour record today at just 9am. The site – which is the country’s biggest online marketplace for major brands and smaller retailers – is on course for as much as $5 billion in sales by the end of the day.

E-tailers pulled out all the stops to gain these massive profits. Huge promotions leading up to the buying bonanza were dwarfed by even bigger ones on the day of the event. According to Bloomberg:

Tmall’s vendors, starting midnight, began cutting prices by 50 percent or more on selected products from 20,000 Chinese and international merchants, including GAP Inc. (GPS) and Steven Madden Ltd. Surging Internet purchases show Chinese demand is shifting away from bricks-and-mortar outlets. The percentage of retail sales made online last year jumped to 6.3 percent from 4.3 percent a year earlier, according to Bloomberg Industries. […]

Smaller rival 360buy Jingdong Inc. began offering half-price Pampers diapers from Nov. 1 and pledged to slice as much as 70 percent off items including slimming belts and facial moisturizers, according to its website. Suning Commerce Group Co. (002024), an Internet retailer which started out selling electrical appliances, has been running ads for online sales beginning Nov. 8 with the slogan: “Four days, four nights, shop non-stop.

Singles’ Day bargain hunters were also able stock up on cut-price American Standard toilets, crystal chandeliers, ducks’ tongues, French wines and pineapple cookies.

These statistics are likely able to give a good sense of how truly massive this day was in terms of e-commerce, but in case you need a more tangible example, Alibaba has helpfully provided statistics in non-monetary terms. This one may be the most awe-inspiring: “Two million bras sold in one hour, making a pile that would be three times higher than Mount Everest!”

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E-Commerce, Tech

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