With 6 hours to go, Alibaba's Single's Day sales has already overtaken its 2017 total of $25.3 billion in 24 hours.
At 5.25 pm local time (GMT + 8.00 hours), Alibaba's Single's Day sale broke its 2017 record of sales worth $25.3 billion in dollar terms. It had already crossed the figure in Yuan at 3.49 local time. Note that the Yuan is weaker than the US currency this time around, which means it had to sell more to cross last year's figures in dollar-terms.
An hour later, it had also crossed the number of delivery orders placed.
There are a little over 6 hours to go till the Single's Day sale, Alibaba's online discount shopping extravaganza, comes to an end.
To be clear, GMV exceeded USD 1 billion in just the first minute of Alibaba's annual 11.11 Single's Day sale. At 4 minutes, 20 seconds, GMV was over 19.1 billion yuan, surpassing the total sales volume for 2012.
Less than 10 minutes later, or 12 minutes and 14 seconds into the sale, GMV surged to 36.2 billion yuan, outpacing its 2013 levels. By the first 35 minutes of the shopping festival, GMV exceeded 57.1 billion yuan, beating its 2014 levels.
Alibaba had earlier said it expects its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 2018 to be the largest-ever in terms of scale and reach. This year, the shopping festival is focusing on Alibaba’s New Retail strategy --the convergence of online and offline retail through technology.
Currently in its 10th year, Alibaba’s annual shopping fest features over 500,000 items across 180,000 brands on Tmall. This compares with 140,000 brands last year and just 27 merchants in its first year.
In contrast, US retailers together clocked Black Friday sales of $7.9 billion on November 24, 2017. According to Adobe Analytics, this was an 18 percent increase over the previous year. Even including the predicted Cyber Monday sales of $6.6 billion, the number is close to what Alibaba clocked in its Single's Day sales back in 2015.
So what exactly is Single's Day?
Single's Day is not a traditional Chinese holiday. Rather, it is the result of the massive gender imbalance in China, resulting from its decades-long one-child policy. A preference for male children has resulted in a 1:1.15 sex ratio at birth, which means men outnumber women in a big way. A lot of Chinese men are therefore single. The tradition of Single's Day - meant to take pride in being single - was first recorded in Nanjing University as recently as 1993. It rapidly became a day for singles to party and for blind dates to be organized in a big way.
Alibaba reportedly picked the date to organise a huge online sale to drum up revenues in what was traditionally a slow period between National Day in September and the Lunar New Year in February.