BEIJING: Alibaba has smashed its own record for sales on Singles Day as preliminary numbers from China's popular shopping event revealed the ecommerce giant beat last year's record of $9.3bn in just 14 hours.
This year's Singles Day was the biggest online spending day of all time, across any market, with more than $1bn in sales generated in just eight minutes and an estimated $5bn in 90 minutes. A total of $10bn was spent by 2.05pm China Time.
According to website Alizila, which tracks news about Alibaba, this year's event was the biggest ever with more than six million products being offered from more than 40,000 merchants.
And there were 30,000 brands from 25 countries involved in the shopping extravaganza, up from 27,000 merchants last year.
By the end of the first hour of sales, more than 100 million orders had been processed, with packaged deliveries starting to arrive at shoppers' homes.
Alibaba also made the most of China's online-to-offline trend, with more than 180,000 brick-and-mortar stores in 330 cities across China expected to be integrated into the online sale.
Singles Day, a Chinese shopping day akin to Black Friday, began as an in-joke between Chinese university students about their single-ness.
Alibaba started the "11.11 Global Shopping Festival" six years ago to leverage the fledgling tradition, but with much smaller ambitions – to raise awareness of online shopping in China. Just 27 merchants were involved at the time.
This year's event also showed mobile ecommerce to be taking off in China as local shoppers turned to their smartphones for purchases. As of noon Beijing time, 71% of Alibaba's sales on Singles Day came from mobile devices, up from 43% in 2014.
Alibaba has spent months preparing for the event, having launched a series of national "pavilions" on its Tmall Global online marketplace. It also hosted a spectacular TV gala before Singles Day began that featured Chinese and foreign celebrities, including Hollywood star Kevin Spacey and James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Data sourced from Alibaba, Alizila, South China Morning Post; additional content from Warc staff