The Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba grossed over US $25 billion in its 24-hour long 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on Saturday.
The company sold US $25.38 billion (168.2 billion Chinese Yuan) worth of goods within 24 hours of its annual sales event, registering about 39 per cent growth over its previous year’s sales of US $18 billion during the one-day event in 2016.
“This year is the first time that the fest was held during the weekend, on a Saturday. We had consumers who shopped throughout the day right up till the last second of the festival,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Alibaba Group Daniel Zhang told media as the sales event came to a close.
It was not a fest just for consumers but also for the merchants, with 157 merchants registering over 100 million Chinese Yuan (about US $15 million) worth sales within 24 hours, Zhang said.
“Today was an Olympics of commerce,” he added.
Out of the total US $25.38 billion, the company had notched US $12 billion worth of sales within just the first two hours of the festival.
The ninth edition of the much anticipated 24-hour annual shopping festival was kicked off at midnight of Friday in China. The festival had promotions and offers from over 140,000 brands and 15 million product listings this year.
About 325,000 orders were processed per second during the festival by Alibaba Cloud (the cloud computing arm of Alibaba) and 256,000 payment transactions were made for the placed orders through Alipay (Alibaba’s online payment platform), the company announced.
Nearly 90 per cent of the orders that were placed from across the world during the shopping fest were made through mobile phones.
This year’s festival was entertainment-and-media driven with a “new retail” strategy employing various ways to engage the Chinese consumers both online and offline, Zhang said.
The company had converted about 100,000 retail stores to “smart stores”, which allow consumers to receive customised shopping experience with the use of facial recognition, “cloud shelf” and location-based store and discount recommendations among others.
Consumers could shop through augmented reality trials of beauty products, a fashion mirror based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), unmanned vending machines among others.
Held on China’s Singles’ Day, which falls on November 11, the event is one of the largest online shopping events in the world.
On the same day this year, Alibaba’s competitor and the second largest e-commerce platform JD.com had registered about US $19.14 billion worth sales during its 24-hour Singles’ Day fest.
Started in 2009, Alibaba’s festival grossed about US $18 billion during the 24-hour period last year, making the festival about 2.5 times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday (two of the biggest shopping festivals in the US) put together.
The fest is 18 times bigger than Amazon Prime Day, the sales event of online shopping platform Amazon.