Alibaba smashed last year's Singles Day record with over $74 billion in sales amid worries over the pandemic

Photo by Niu Jing/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.
  • Alibaba’s Singles Day sales reportedly surpassed $US74 billion, nearly double the previous record.
  • The major shopping holiday is usually bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
  • Alibaba says strong early numbers indicate that demand in China is bouncing back after the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Alibaba’s Singles Day sales were over $US74 billion, the Chinese retail giant reported shortly after midnight.

Singles Day on November 11, or Double 11, is a Chinese shopping holiday started by online retailer Alibaba to celebrate single people, in opposition to Valentine’s Day, although the day mostly revolves around the online deals available. Sales each year surpass Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, making it the world’s single largest shopping event.

This year, Alibaba has adopted some of the same strategy as US retailers around Black Friday, expanding the sale. Some sales started between November 1-3, including American brands like Adidas, Nike, and Apple. Alibaba didn’t release sales numbers for the first Singles Day window, but it said in a statement that sales “indicate strong consumption rebound and higher-than-ever demand in China.”

Alibaba Group Executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said in a livestreamed event that the Chinese economy has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, pointing to the 17% growth year over year of ecommerce in China. As of 11 p.m. in China, US businesses passed $US5 billion in sales, the most of any country outside of China.

The Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City Academia Exchange Centre was lit up to celebrate the shopping holiday.

Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.

A giant board kept track of spending over the 24-hour event, with more than $US56 billion, or RMB 372.3 billion, in sales by 12:30 a.m. on November 11.

ReutersSingles Day.

More than 250,000 brands and 800 million consumers participated in the world’s largest shopping event.

Photo by Niu Jing/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.

This was the first year that the sale was spread over four days, rather than just on November 11 .

ReutersSingles Day.

Alibaba sales passed $US74 billion this year, likely boosted by the longer shopping time.

Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.

Despite the pandemic, Alibaba nearly doubled sales from last year’s record of more than $US35.8 billion.

ReutersSingles Day.

Source Business Insider

Sales were high right from the start, with a special interest in foreign brands. Nike passed $US15 million in sales in only one minute, Alibaba said in a livestream.

ReutersSingles Day.

This year also had increased buy from luxury brands, with 200 including Prada, Balenciaga, and Cartier.

Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.

Alibaba saw 16 times as many sales as Amazon’s Prime Day event this year, according to Reuters.

Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty ImagesSingles Day.

Source: Reuters

Imported food and drink were also popular. Imported wine sales were up 400%, and imported coffee sales were up over 90%, Alibaba said.

Associated PressSingles Day.

Alibaba cofounder and Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai explained during the livestream that Singles Day is a sign of where commerce is going. “Businesses will have to deal with what happens when nobody comes into stores. I don’t think things will return to the normal brick and mortar world.”

Associated PressJoe Tsai.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.