Alibaba smashed last year's Singles Day record with over $74 billion in sales amid worries over the pandemic

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Alibaba smashed last year's Singles Day record with over $74 billion in sales amid worries over the pandemic
  • Alibaba's Singles Day sales reportedly surpassed $74 billion, nearly double the previous record.
  • The major shopping holiday is usually bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
  • Alibaba says strong early numbers indicate that demand in China is bouncing back after the coronavirus.

Alibaba's Singles Day sales were over $74 billion, the Chinese retail giant reported shortly after midnight.

Singles Day on November 11, or Double 11, is a Chinese shopping holiday started by online retailer Alibaba to celebrate single people, in opposition to Valentine's Day, although the day mostly revolves around the online deals available. Sales each year surpass Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, making it the world's single largest shopping event.

This year, Alibaba has adopted some of the same strategy as US retailers around Black Friday, expanding the sale. Some sales started between November 1-3, including American brands like Adidas, Nike, and Apple. Alibaba didn't release sales numbers for the first Singles Day window, but it said in a statement that sales "indicate strong consumption rebound and higher-than-ever demand in China."

Alibaba Group Executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said in a livestreamed event that the Chinese economy has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, pointing to the 17% growth year over year of ecommerce in China. As of 11 p.m. in China, US businesses passed $5 billion in sales, the most of any country outside of China.

The Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City Academia Exchange Center was lit up to celebrate the shopping holiday.

The Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City Academia Exchange Center was lit up to celebrate the shopping holiday.
Singles Day. Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty Images
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A giant board kept track of spending over the 24-hour event, with more than $56 billion, or RMB 372.3 billion, in sales by 12:30 a.m. on November 11.

A giant board kept track of spending over the 24-hour event, with more than $56 billion, or RMB 372.3 billion, in sales by 12:30 a.m. on November 11.
Singles Day. Reuters
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More than 250,000 brands and 800 million consumers participated in the world's largest shopping event.

More than 250,000 brands and 800 million consumers participated in the world's largest shopping event.
Singles Day. Photo by Niu Jing/VCG via Getty Images
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This was the first year that the sale was spread over four days, rather than just on November 11 .

This was the first year that the sale was spread over four days, rather than just on November 11 .
Singles Day. Reuters
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Alibaba sales passed $74 billion this year, likely boosted by the longer shopping time.

Alibaba sales passed $74 billion this year, likely boosted by the longer shopping time.
Singles Day. Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty Images
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Despite the pandemic, Alibaba nearly doubled sales from last year's record of more than $35.8 billion.

Despite the pandemic, Alibaba nearly doubled sales from last year's record of more than $35.8 billion.
Singles Day. Reuters
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Sales were high right from the start, with a special interest in foreign brands. Nike passed $15 million in sales in only one minute, Alibaba said in a livestream.

Sales were high right from the start, with a special interest in foreign brands. Nike passed $15 million in sales in only one minute, Alibaba said in a livestream.
Singles Day. Reuters
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This year also had increased buy from luxury brands, with 200 including Prada, Balenciaga, and Cartier.

This year also had increased buy from luxury brands, with 200 including Prada, Balenciaga, and Cartier.
Singles Day. Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty Images
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Alibaba saw 16 times as many sales as Amazon's Prime Day event this year, according to Reuters.

Alibaba saw 16 times as many sales as Amazon's Prime Day event this year, according to Reuters.
Singles Day. Photo by Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty Images

Source: Reuters

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Imported food and drink were also popular. Imported wine sales were up 400%, and imported coffee sales were up over 90%, Alibaba said.

Imported food and drink were also popular. Imported wine sales were up 400%, and imported coffee sales were up over 90%, Alibaba said.
Singles Day. Associated Press
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Alibaba cofounder and Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai explained during the livestream that Singles Day is a sign of where commerce is going. "Businesses will have to deal with what happens when nobody comes into stores. I don't think things will return to the normal brick and mortar world."

Alibaba cofounder and Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai explained during the livestream that Singles Day is a sign of where commerce is going. "Businesses will have to deal with what happens when nobody comes into stores. I don't think things will return to the normal brick and mortar world."
Joe Tsai. Associated Press
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