What Drove Alibaba’s $38.4 Billion Singles’ Day Sales Record

Update

Alibaba has announced a chart-busting 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) in gross merchandise volume on Singles’ Day — a 26% gain year-over-year.

According to a company statement released following the 24-hour event, the top five countries that made sales to China through the e-tailer’s cross-border platforms were Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia and Germany.

Nearly 300 brands surpassed 100 million yuan ($143 million) in GMV: Clothing and accessories retailer Gap, fast-fashion giants H&M and Uniqlo, sportswear behemoths Nike and Adidas, as well as outdoor gear brand The North Face were among the top sellers on the site.

“Today we showed the world what the future of consumption looks like for brands and consumers,” said Fan Jiang, president of Taobao and Tmall — both online shopping platforms owned by Alibaba Group. “We are meeting the growing demand of Chinese consumers and helping them upgrade their lifestyles, while introducing new users to our digital economy from across China and around the world.”

What We Reported (Nov. 11, 9:58 a.m. ET): What Drove Alibaba’s More Than $36 Billion Singles’ Day Sales Record

Alibaba has topped a record-breaking $36 billion in sales — and growing — during its annual Singles’ Day.

The China-based e-tailer has raked in a total of 253 billion yuan ($36.2 billion) in gross merchandise volume (at the time of posting) through the online shopping extravaganza. It marks the 11th year since the inception of the event, which falls on Nov. 11 and is also known as the Double 11. (Gross merchandise volume refers to the total value of merchandise sold on an e-commerce marketplace during a certain time period.)

As the figure continues to climb, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day has already brought in roughly 25% of Amazon’s annual revenue in just one day. In just the first hour and a half, the retailer announced that it had already exceeded 2016’s sales, recording 120.7 billion yuan ($17.3 billion) in GMV.

Last year’s sales, for comparison, hit $30.8 billion — a 27% uptick from 2017 and more than the amount U.S. retailers had sold during Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

The new record comes amid a slowing Chinese economy and a protracted trade war with the United States, coupled with heavy competition from domestic competitors JD.com and Pinduoduo, which are offering their own markdowns during the 24-hour event.

This year, Alibaba has expanded its discounted merchandise and put more resources behind livestreaming on its sites to boost sales. In the hours leading up to the event, the company’s Youku platform hosted the fifth annual countdown gala, which included performances from Taylor Swift as well as TFBoys boy band member Jackson Yee. (The concert, hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, was broadcasted live across nearly 30 platforms and TV channels.)

More than 22,000 brands from 78 countries — including local merchants from Russia, Spain, Italy and Turkey — are participating in 2019’s e-bonanza. This year, Silicon Valley sneaker startup Allbirds is celebrating its first year as a seller on the platform, while brands such as Nike and Stuart Weitzman are serving up their own Singles’ Day deals for U.S. shoppers.

Singles’ Day was conceived in 2009 by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who recently took on the top role as well as that of executive chairman following co-founder Jack Ma’s retirement. The anti-Valentine’s Day occasion is held on Nov. 11, which is written with four ones: 1111.

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