China's e-commerce giant Alibaba revealed that sales from its annual Singles Day extravaganza on Sunday soared past $1 billion within one minute and 25 seconds, CNN reported.
Singles Day is an informal holiday in China. It celebrates people who are not in a relationship. The date, November 11, or 11/ 11, symbolizers singletons.
Alibaba began offering Singles Day discounts in 2009 and has since turned the day to a 24-hour online shopping bonanza.
Singles Day sale regularly racks up bigger sales than the West's Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. The outlook for this year's event, however, was dim.
Prior to Sunday's sale event, Forrester Research analyst Xiaofeng Wang said there will possibly be a slowdown in growth for Singles Day sales since these had exponential growth in the past.
"As the festival matures and becomes more established, we can expect the growth rate to slow down," Xiaofeng Wang said.
Alibaba has also slashed its annual revenue forecast by as much as 6 percent earlier this month amid China's slowing economy, trade war with the United States, and Alibaba's new rivals in the e-commerce industry.
It appears though that these factors did not crimp interest in the event. This year's Singles Day sale managed to record 10 billion yuan, or about $1.44 billion, of sales volume in its opening minutes, outpacing last year's start.
According to Fortune, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang sought new growth engines to notch up Singles Day sales. Last year, the event saw 1.48 billion transactions worldwide peaking at 325,000 orders per second, according to TechCrunch.
"Alibaba is making use of all of its platforms to make Singles' Day a holiday that also includes dining and entertainment," said Jet Ling, president of Tmall, one of Alibaba's main sites. "We're connecting online shopping with offline physical outlets."
According to CNET, 180,000 Chinese and international brands are taking part in the online shopping spree this year. The sale covers TVs, smartphones, clothing, health products, furniture and more. Cleaning products, toilet paper, and daily perishables sell well. TechCrunch also reported of a strong demand for cars.
Xiaomi, Apple, and Dyson products were reportedly the top three most sellable brands in early sales.
Other Chinese e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and regular brick and mortar stores are also capitalizing on robust consumer spending. The sale also goes beyond China. Alibaba's Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada, for instance, also offered discounted items for shoppers in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam on November 11.