Alibaba Singles Day smashes $25 billion sales record

Are Kiwis just less consumption-focused

123RFAre Kiwis just less consumption-focused

A screen shows the value of goods being transacted at Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shanghai, China, November 11, 2018.

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. Its Alipay payment service clocked 1.5 billion payment transactions, with total orders reaching 812 million.

In 2017, Alibaba's Singles' Day sales exceeded $25 billion. While most businesses benefit from the holiday in China now, the biggest beneficiary of Singles' Day is Alibaba.

Singles' Day, also called "Double 11" is the world's biggest online sales event, outstripping the sales of US shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Less than 10 minutes in, Alibaba's massive 24-hour online shopping extravaganza had generated more than $US4.68 billion in sales.

The spending binge has for years eclipsed Cyber Monday in the US for online purchases made on a single day. It had started in the 1990s on university campuses as a celebration of being single, a retort of sorts to Valentine's Day.

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Alibaba kicks off the annual event with a gala, which this year featured US singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyonce impersonator and a shoe-shopping-themed Cirque du Soleil performance.

It's expected to be the company's final November sale event with founder and chairman Jack Ma at the helm.

Ren Xiaotong, a 27-year-old accountant in Beijing, said she suspected online stores jacked up their prices in the lead-up to Singles Day so they could declare that items were discounted.

While sales growth remains steady, Alibaba's stock has dropped 16 percent this year amid economic uncertainties rising out of trade tensions between China and the United States.

The opening of 11.11 global shopping event was enlivened by performances featuring Mariah Carey, Cirque du Soleil and many more. The company had announced in September earlier this year that the current chief executive Daniel Zhang will take over as chairman next year.

Earlier this month, Alibaba revised down its full-year revenue forecast, sending a chill through investors, as it said sales of big-ticket items would be impacted.

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