China's Biggest Shopping Event: What Is Singles Day?

SHANGHAI CHINA- NOVEMBER 10 A general view of atmosphere at 2017 Alibaba Singles' Day Global Shopping Festival gala at Mercedes Benz Arena

China's Biggest Shopping Event: What Is Singles Day?

Once an obscure "Day" named for unmarried people in China (Singles Day), 11 November rapidly became the biggest shopping day in the world.

The shopping day raked in an impressive $17.8 billion, and this year has some wild offers including a lifetime supply of alcohol for $1,673.

Alibaba's sales topped $10 billion after an hour and six minutes.

Singles' Day now marks the start of a 24-day shopping festival. It started as an informal holiday, sometimes dubbed an anti-Valentine's Day, meant to celebrate those not in relationships.

More than 140,000 brands will participate this year, Alibaba said. The holiday has been around since the mid-90s, but it has exploded since 2009 when the company turned it into an e-commerce event.

Adding together the sales from the most recent Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the USA only total 43% of the sales from last year's Single's Day.

To put that figure perspective, Alibaba made more transactions in first 15 minutes of Singles Day this year than it did during the entire first hour of the cybershopping event back in 2015. Alibaba's total sales for the day were $17.8 billion past year.

The logistics arm of Alibaba is expecting to fulfill more than 1 billion orders from Singles Day, which is 50% more than fulfilled during last year's holiday, Squali said.

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