Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles’ Day has just closed, and the figures confirm yet another sales record.

Raking in way more cash than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Singles’ Day, which took place on Sunday, November 11, generated sales of a phenomenal $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion a year ago.

Organized by Chinese internet behemoth Alibaba, the web-based shopping event reached $1 billion of sales in just 85 seconds, and took just over an hour to reach $10 billion as customers swiped, tapped, and clicked their way to multiple purchases from vendors across Asia and beyond.

Deals and discounts were offered on a huge range of items from 180,000 different brands, with tech-focused participants including Apple, Samsung, Dyson, DJI, Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Huawei.

Revenue was given a boost this year by the event’s expansion to international markets via the English-language AliExpress site, and Digital Trends got involved too, offering up a few examples of the kind of tech deals available on the day.

Singles’ Day activity was tracked from an audience-packed TV studio, with the event kicked off by a Mariah Carey set and a Cirque du Soleil performance, among several others.

Slowing sales

While Singles’ Day sales were up 27 percent on 2017, this year’s figures marked the lowest annual increase in the event’s 10-year history. Sales were reportedly hit by competing online shopping events, among them June’s “618” festival organized by JD.com and which generated almost $25 billion in sales, NBC News reported. Meanwhile, a downturn in the Chinese housing market appeared to dent sales of larger appliances during Singles’ Day, with smaller appliances instead a bigger hit among online shoppers looking for a bargain.

Singles’ Day started in China in the 1990s when a group of student friends who weren’t in relationships decided to celebrate their single lives by holding parties and exchanging presents. Alibaba got involved in 2009 and turned it into the massive shopping extravaganza that we see today.

If you missed out on Singles’ Day but have a few spare bucks put aside for this month’s Black Friday, check out Digital Trends’ special page showing all the best tech deals as they land. We also have a carefully compiled Cyber Monday guide to help you get the most out of America’s equivalent of Singles’ Day.

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