ith 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in sales in only 96 seconds and 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) in just over an hour, Alibaba has seen another record-setting day in human history in terms of the buying of things.
At around 4:30 pm on Monday, the e-commerce giant surpassed last year’s Singles Day record of 213.5 billion yuan ($30.5 billion) in gross merchandise volume with plenty of time to still rack up more sales.
This was Alibaba’s 11th annual Singles Day shopping orgy, an event that has grown dramatically in China since its inception in 2009 when sales were a mere $8 million at the end of the day. Nowadays, it far outpaces foreign shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As usual, the event was preceded by a four-hour hype-building countdown show to midnight that was closed out this year by none other than Taylor Swift.
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.
This was Alibaba’s first Singles Day without founder Jack Ma at the helm and one that was considered with greater importance considering the ongoing US-China trade war and China’s slowing economy.