China's 2019 Singles Day online shopping bonanza brought in a record $38.4 billion USD in sales for Alibaba, the country’s biggest e-commerce company. According to an Alibaba spokesman, it took less than 1-1/2 minute for the company to reach $1 billion USD in sales, and after 16-1/2 hours the company had beat the 2018 sales of $30.8 billion USD and passed the $38.4 billion USD mark by the end of the day.
For Alibaba, this year’s growth was 26% above 2018’s sales, but the growth rate was slightly lower than the 27% increase the company had achieved in Single’s Day sales for 2018. Analysts had warned of weaker growth this year given China's slowing economy and the trade war with the United States, but ultimately, this year’s event continued an impressive growth rate.
Jeffrey Halley, Asia-Pacific Senior Market Analyst at Oanda said that, "Singles Day is being held up as a bellwether of Chinese consumers' willingness to spend in the face of a domestic slowdown, and deeply discounting prices always brings consumers out to play, no matter how bad the economy might be."
Chris Tung, the Chief Marketing Officer for Alibaba was extremely upbeat after the sales results were announced and said that, "We continue to feel very confident about the growth potential of the economy. We are pushing deeper towards the less developed areas of China, to reach more new online shoppers, so there's a huge untapped opportunity there."
Singles Day is an informal, anti-Valentine's Day holiday in China that is celebrated by people who aren't in relationships and who want to indulge themselves with a variety of Chinese and international consumer goods. The date of November 11, was chosen because the Chinese characters for the date is written as four ones, or singles.
Alibaba first started offering Singles Day discounts in 2009 and has since turned the day into a 24-hour bonanza of online shopping in China.
As the Singles Day phenomenon continues to grow, other Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD.com also take part with their own sales promotions. Additionally, Alibaba's Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada offered Singles Day discounts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Additionally in the U.S., brands like Brooks Brothers and Nike also offered Singles Day promotions on their websites in the United States.
Two brands that did well this year are Estée Lauder (EL) which did a record $143 million USD in pre-Singles Day orders and Apple which Alibaba said generated $14 million USD in orders for the iPhone 11.