Alibaba's popularity to most people around the world, may not surpass Amazon. But in fact, the giant tech company founded by Jack Ma, is indeed far bigger than its counterpart when it comes to sales. And this time, it's Single's Day in China.
Long ago, November 11th was only a tongue-in-cheek cultural celebration of single people in China. It was in 2009 that retailer Alibaba turned the day into the country’s version of Black Friday.
In 2017, sales from the Chinese e-commerce's one-day event amounted to $25.3 billion, or nearly doubled those from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. combined.
This was a 40 percent jump from previous year’s figures.
In 2018, Alibaba again scored another blockbuster Singles’ Day, measuring at a staggering $30.8 billion.
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) November 11, 2018
To put those numbers in other perspective, Alibaba got its first $1 billion in just 85 seconds. And in just 15 hours and 49 minutes into the spending spree, transactions jumped and surpassed its 2017’s tally of $25.3 billion.
While this figure makes the shopping spree more than twice the size of Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined in 2017, the company recorded its lowest-ever annual growth rate for the event.
The slowdown came on the heels of Alibaba’s weakest revenue growth since its previous seven quarters, and a cut in annual revenue forecast. Although revenues were still increasing at a healthy rate of 54 percent year-over-year in the quarter.
People who shop using the internet "are looking for new ways to upgrade their lifestyles and make their lives better," said Alibaba executive chairman Joe Tsai. "This will really offset a lot of the short-term cyclical effects.”
More than 300 million of China’s 1.4 billion people have entered the middle-income bracket. What this means, discretionary items will drive much of Alibaba's growth, and also the upmarket trend is already underway.
From health supplements, small home appliances, and skincare items are among the fastest growing categories on Alibaba Singles' Day 2018.
Other Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD.com and regular brick-and-mortar stores also take part in this event, and also raked increasing revenues.
The event also started gaining traction outside China, where Alibaba's Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada also offered Singles' Day discounts in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. But still, Alibaba Singles' Day event in China is by far the splashiest.
Alibaba also held a gala, where international companies flock to Alibaba's celebrity-studded live telecast.
The online retailer is poised to "digitize the whole consumer retail market," explained CEO Daniel Zhang.