On November 11, celebrated as Singles Day in China, young Chinese shoppers spent around a record 35 billion yuan (approx. $5.7 billion) online. This is the highest one-day sale which has been recorded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China's largest e-commerce company.
The company broke its previous highest one-day sales by more than 83 percent this time.
Singles Day was invented by Chinese students of 1990s. They thought that the date (11-11) reminded of a Chinese phrase "bare branches -- for bachelors and spinsters," a twist on Valentine's Day that allows lovelorn singles to indulge in some retail therapy.
In the same vein as Black Friday/Cyber Monday, e-commerce portals in China offer hard-to-refuse deals that target the nation's singles, as well as price-sensitive buyers. The result is not surprising. Bargain hunters and singles flood online shopping sites the most on Singles Day and it has come to be marked as China's busiest shopping day.
"The spectacular growth rate shows the potential for online shopping," said Ronald Wan, chief China adviser at Asian Capital Holdings Ltd. The company has about $100 million of assets under management. "This will boost momentum for Alibaba, give its potential investors confidence and prompt traditional retailers to think hard how to cope with challenges from e-commerce."
Online shopping portal Alibaba managed to attract 400 million unique visitors on Monday alone. The number is double than what the same day in 2012 witnessed.
Though sales of other online retailers are yet to be announced, experts believe that the total online transaction of country's top 10 operators is going to cross 80 billion yuan.
Shoppers' favorite remained mobile phones but some of them were also interested in insurance policies, sweaters and underwear. One online seller even managed to sell 13,000 cars by afternoon on November 11.
The two major e-commerce platforms in China, Taobao and Tmall are owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The total revenue of the company was calculated to be $1.73 billion in the latest quarter.