Singles' Day is an unofficial holiday that Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba turned into a massive retail event in 2009.Since then, the Singles' Day shopping extravaganza has spread to retailers nationwide in China.Alibaba usually holds a massive party the night before its biggest sales day, and it's been known to feature celebrities from the world over.Nicole Kidman made an appearance in 2017, Taylor Swift performed at Alibaba's Shanghai gala in 2019, and Katy Perry performed via a livestream last year. This year, Alibaba's Tmall has teased an upcoming appearance by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch on its Weibo microblog.We've put together some statistics to show the magnitude of the cultural phenomenon that is Singles' Day.Singles' Day raked in $78 billion for Alibaba in 2020 — up almost 10 times from the inaugural Singles' Day shopping event in 2009, which featured just 27 brands. The first Singles' Day sales event in 2009 generated 52 million yuan ($8.1 million) for Alibaba, per Bloomberg.Last year, the 11-day event saw 250,000 brands participating and generating 498.2 Chinese billion yuan ($78 billion in today's exchange rate) in sales for the company.The skyrocketing sales come amid rapid growth in the Chinese economy. China's GDP grew almost three times from 5.1 trillion in 2009 to $14.7 trillion in 2020, according to World Bank data.Singles' Day sales have dwarfed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined for years, according to data put together by data service Statista.Last year, US retailers pulled in $9 billion on Black Friday and another $10.84 billion in online sales on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. But Alibaba alone generated well over $70 billion in sales over its 11-day sales period.Even without an extended sales period, Alibaba sold $38.4 billion worth of products over 24 hours in 2019 — more than double the total amount of goods sold in the US over Thanksgiving weekend, according to Statista, citing numbers from Alibaba and Comscore.Compared to Singles' Day, Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the biggest online shopping days in the United States, look like exercises in frugality, wrote Statista's Felix Richter.Sales livestreams have become an important part of online shopping in China, with the market worth 970 billion Chinese yuan ($151.7 billion) last year, reported state-owned China Daily, citing data from the country's Internet Economy Institute.This year, Austin Li Jiaqi — a top livestreamer in China known as the Lipstick King — sold about $1.7 billion worth of goods in 12 hours in the run-up to the mega shopping day on November 11.Nearly four billion packages were shipped during China's Singles' Day shopping event last year, according to the South China Morning Post, culminating in a lot of packaging waste and pollution.There are no official figures for the waste generated, but environmental group Greenpeace Singles' Day estimated 52,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide were produced from manufacturing, packaging, and shipping — and that was in 2017, Bloomberg reported.