This was e-commerce giant Alibaba’s 10th annual Singles Day shopping orgy, an event that has grown dramatically in China since its start in 2009 when sales were only about $8 million at the end of the day. In comparison, by about 4 pm yesterday afternoon, sales had surpassed last year’s record of 168.2 billion yuan ($25.3 billion).
As usual, the event was preceded by a four-hour, hype-building countdown show to midnight that featured appearances by Miranda Kerr, Allen Iverson, Japanese Beyonce-impersonator Naomi Watanabe, and Mariah Carey.
Singles Day is said to have originated in the 1990s at Nanjing University where students without significant others would use November 11th (11/11) as an excuse to buy themselves presents with the extra money they were able to save by not having a boyfriend/girlfriend.
While there has been some worries that Chinese consumers will eventually grow tired of all the Singles Day hoopla, that doesn’t appear as though it will happen anytime soon. Jack Ma can retire in peace.