Alibaba’s 11/11 Singles’ Day By The Numbers: A Record $38 Billion Haul

Topline: In the 11th edition of Singles’ Day, the world’s biggest shopping event ever, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba set a new sales record of $38.4 billion, in 24 hours selling more than half of what Amazon sells in an entire quarter.

  • $1 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) was sold after the first minute and eight seconds of Singles’ Day, while that number reached $12 billion after the first hour of the shopping festival. 
  • Total sales hit $38.4 billion in gross merchandise volume after 24 hours, a 26% increase over last year’s total of $30.8 billion. That’s slightly lower than the 27% increase seen on last year’s Singles’ Day, however, in part because of a slowdown in the wider Chinese e-commerce industry.
  • Amazon, for instance, reported $70 billion in net sales last quarter; Alibaba made over half of that number in just 24 hours, according to the company’s GMV figures.
  • Concerns that the U.S.-China trade war might lead to a boycott of American brands by Chinese consumers were not borne out: The U.S. came in second in terms of GMV sold to China, with jewelry and apparel the most popular categories, Jacob Cooke, CEO of e-commerce tech and marketing firm WPIC, told CNBC. “There is no evidence there is a sentiment decline for U.S. brands.”
  • A number of celebrities added significant starpower to this year’s event: Kim Kardashian hosted a livestream on Tmall to promote her fragrances, while Taylor Swift headlined the opening gala with a live performance in Shanghai.
  • The number of delivery orders came in at a new high, after 18 hours and 31 minutes topping last year’s 1.042 billion. Over 200,000 brands participated in the shopping festival this year—including more than 22,000 international brands from 78 countries—with one million new products on offer.

Tangent: This was Alibaba’s first 11/11 without founder Jack Ma at the helm—since China’s richest man stepped down from his position as chairman in September—but that didn’t stop the e-commerce giant from posting record sales.

What to watch for: Despite Alibaba’s massive sales numbers,now is not necessarily a good time to bet on its shares. The stock was down 1.1% on Monday morning, in part thanks to slower year-over-year sales growth. Historically, over the past five years in the week leading up to Singles’ Day, Alibaba shares dropped 1.3% on average, trending negatively 80% of the time, according to CNBC analysis

Big numbers: To compare, the $38.4 billion GMV sold on Singles’ Day far outpaces other big e-commerce days in the U.S. Alibaba’s shopping bonanza this year raked in more than twice the amount of last year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day combined.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I've reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and T

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