Continuing to dwarf U.S. sales holidays, as well as Amazon’s Prime Day, Alibaba’s Singles Day on Saturday pulled in a record 168.2 billion yuan ($25.3 billion) in gross merchandise value (GMV) settled through the Alipay platform, up 39% from 120.7 billion yuan ($17.8 billion) in 2016. That total was reached in just 13 hours this year.
All told, there was approximately 186.9 yuan or $28.1 billion in GMV for this year’s Singles Day, as about 90% of GMV ran through Alipay in 2017, up from 82% in 2016. In a sign of the times, 90% of the GMV from Singles Day was transacted on mobile devices.
Singles Day has also morphed into “retail-tainment,” with stars including Nicole Kidman and Pharrell Williams joining Alibaba chairman Jack Ma in a lavishly produced kickoff extravaganza.
There were more than 140,000 brands and merchants participating in Singles Day, up from 100,000 in 2016, with 80,000 of them from outside China. Transactions originated in 225 countries. For perspective, there were only 27 participating Chinese merchants when Singles Day was launched by Alibaba in 2009.
At the top of the food chain, 167 merchants each generated more than 100 million yuan ($15.1 million) in GMV on Singles Day this year, including Nike, Gap and Uniqlo, thanks to promotional relationships with Alibaba. Above them, 17 companies topped 500 million yuan ($75.4 million), while six exceeding 1 billion yuan ($150.9 million). Top countries selling into China were, in order, Japan, the U.S. Australia, Germany and South Korea.
For comparison, merchants pulled in a record $3.34 billion on Black Friday and $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday in 2016, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Amazon Prime Day this year netted an estimated $1 billion to $2.2 billion in sales.
While JD.com, China’s number-two ecommerce platform behind Alibaba, didn’t do too badly – pulling in 127.1 billion yuan or $19.14 billion – that was from Nov. 1-12 of this year, what it calls a “Singles Day Period” vs. just 24 hours for the originator.
Some other Singles Day stats:
- Alipay processed 1.48 billion total transactions, up 41% from 2016, processing 256,000 transactions per second at the peak
- Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second at the peak
- Alibaba’s Cainiao Network, the company’s logistics arm, processed 812 million total delivery orders on Singles Day
- Top-selling products were in wellness and baby products categories including multivitamins, milk powder and diapers for health-conscious Chinese consumers