"Singles Day" may sound lonely, but those attending will find some visibility into what constitutes the world's largest annual shopping trip, with more than $ 1 billion spent in just over a minute in an eye-catching start to Monday's event.
More than halfway into the unofficial Chinese shopping holiday, known as Singles Day, sales volume had already blown past last year's total, according to Alibaba, China's version of Amazon, which showed the race live on its site.
In terms of money spent, China's one-day consumer festival has already eclipsed predictions of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday ̵
Alibaba reported selling a value of $ 1 billion sold in 1 minute and 8 seconds. It sold $ 12 billion in the first hour, it said in a statement. China's largest online retailer, JD.com, reported sales of $ 25.6 billion by mid-afternoon.
Dealers offered discounts on products from smartphones to make beers for health care packages.
"Last night I was searching past 11 pm Many of my friends around me stayed up until 2am to buy things," said Zhu Yirun, a Beijing graduate student.
What turned into an astonishing revenue-generating business started among Chinese university students who celebrated celebrating being single in 1993, only to be co-opted by Alibaba 16 years later. The China-based retail giant highlighted goods in a marketing campaign that prompted other e-commerce companies to do the same. A decade later, the event now gives Amazon Prime Day a run for the money.
This year, more than 200,000 brands are participating, Alibaba said. The company hyped up the event with a "Countdown Gala" featuring a performance by pop singer Taylor Swift on Sunday night at a Shanghai stadium.
US companies are also trading. Nearly a quarter of U.S. retailers plan to promote Singles Day campaigns, according to Adobe, which surveyed more than 400 U.S. retailers with annual sales in excess of $ 500,000.
That said, US and Chinese trade tensions in US brands may be participating this year, concludes another study by global consulting firm AlixPartners.
Chinese consumers plan to spend 54% more this year than in 2018, but 78% of Chinese surveyed said they would think twice about buying US products because of loyalty to their country, AlixPartners found in a recent survey of more than 2,000 Chinese consumers.
E-commerce has grown rapidly in China, the result of a lack of traditional retail networks, as well as government efforts to encourage Internet use on official channels. The nation has 800 million people online.
Monday marks Alibaba's first single day since its founder, Jack Ma, resigned as chairman in September. He remains a member of Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.