Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba just shattered records for its annual Singles’ Day shopping frenzy.
Shoppers spent a total of $17.7 billion during the 24-hour event, topping last year’s Singles’ Day by more than $3 billion.
By comparison, Americans spent $5.8 billion online last year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, the largest sales days in the US.
According to retail analytics firm Clavis Insight, an average of 120,000 transactions took place every second during Singles’ Day, up 1.4% from last year.
A record-breaking 175,000 orders took place every second during the first hour of sales.
Singles’ Day is an anti-Valentine’s Day holiday that emerged in China two decades ago as a time for bachelors and bachelorettes to celebrate the single life.
Alibaba — China’s largest e-commerce company — has turned the day, which falls on November 11 (11/11) every year, into the biggest 24-hour cyberspending blitz in the world by offering deep discounts on items as varied as cars and clothes.
Here’s a look at how much sales have grown for Alibaba on the shopping holiday over the years, in comparison to Cyber Monday and Black Friday’s online sales.
In the past, Alibaba’s websites — which include Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com — have offered 50% discounts on items like boyfriend body pillows and hoodies that read, “I am single because I am fat.” Bargain hunters could also find deep discounts on crystal chandeliers, French wines, and even BMWs.
The holiday hasn’t always been about shopping. Seven years ago, only about two dozen companies were offering discounts on Singles’ Day, also known as Double 11.
Alibaba entered the game in 2009, and within three years Singles’ Day had become the biggest 24-hour shopping event in the world.
This year, more than 40,000 brands, including many American retailers, participated in the event, according to Alibaba.
US retailers participating this year include Costco, Macy’s, Target, Starbucks, Gap, Children’s Place, and Macy’s, Alibaba spokesman Brion Tingler told Business Insider.
Costco was the top TMall Global seller on Singles Day last year. The company sold about $3.14 million worth of products in a single hour, according to Alibaba.
The most popular brands sold on Singles Day last year include Uniqlo, Nike, Adidas, and New Balance.
During Singles’ Day last year, one out of every 12 people in China bought products on Tmall, and one out of every 10 people outside China browsed products on Alibaba’s AliExpress website, which allows consumers to buy products wholesale directly from China, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology.
Due to the volume of purchases, the shopping event creates mayhem for mail carriers every year.
Photographs of mail carriers in the days following the shopping holiday show them buried in mountains of packages.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.