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Singles Day 2017 | Alibaba Shopping Festival

Amazing deals for 11.11 Global Sourcing Festival begins now!

Alibaba smashes Singles' Day record as online shopping festival goes global

Almost 1.5 billion shoppers parted with their money on China's Single's Day, a shopping day that dwarfs sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The Chinese e-commerce giant broke records and calculated $25.3 billion in sales generated from 1.48 billion shoppers via Alipay on its annual Singles' Day global shopping festival on Nov. 11, or 11/11, it said in a statement released Sunday. That's an increase of 39 percent from last year.

Singles' Day is perhaps the biggest online shopping extravaganza worldwide, dwarfing international equivalents like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The day, chosen for the collection of ones in its name, started out as a kind of "anti-Valentine's Day" where China's lonely hearts revel in their singlehood. It was popularised by Alibaba as an annual online shopping spree in 2009, where participating companies offered discounts to shoppers for a 24-hour period.

China easily retained its status as the king of retail e-commerce when the Alibaba Group smashed its 24-hour Singles' Day sales tally from last year, notching up total takings of 168 billion yuan (US$25.3 billion).

The total gross merchandise volume (GMV) - or the amount of sales transacted on the tech giant's e-commerce platforms - was nearly four times the combined online sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US.

The event, dubbed the Double Eleven or 11.11, saw Alibaba taking a little over 13 hours to pass its total takings of US$18.1 billion from Singles' Day in 2016.
The online shopping spree has been held by firm every November 11 since 2009, with brands from China and around the world offering steep discounts on its Taobao market place and Tmall online stores. The practice started in the 1990s when Chinese university students began celebrating being single and splurging on themselves in reaction to society placing so much emphasis on relationships.

The scale and the method - $US25.3 billion in purchases, 90 per cent made via mobile phone - could change the way the world shops.

On Saturday, Australia was the third-biggest overseas source of the products bought.

The Double Eleven festival was devised eight years ago by Alibaba as Singles Day, an anti-Valentine's day of big discounts at its e-commerce malls.

But the world's biggest online shopping event is best known in Australia for catapulting Australian vitamin and milk powder brands into the fortune-making Chinese market.

Double Eleven far outgrew its origins this year, as sales leapt 39 per cent compared to 2016.

Alipay, Alibaba's digital payments arm, processed 1.48 billion payment transactions, up 41 per cent, a sign of how Chinese shoppers have dumped cash to use their mobile phone as a wallet.

The Chinese railway put on extra bullet trains to assist in delivery of 812 million parcels, such is the Chinese shoppers' expectation of fast delivery.

The warm up was a four-hour televised concert with international singers Jessie J and Will Pharrell, actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger) and tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Nicole Kidman appeared just before midnight, as the sale started, introducing Alibaba's founder Jack Ma, in his own kung fu film . But the TV coverage was secondary to what really drives Chinese consumers - live streaming and online influencers .

Vitamin brand Swisse took Chinese actress Fan Bingbing to a glitzy Shanghai shopping mall, where the fans crowded five storeys take photos to share on social media.

It worked. Swisse, taken over by a Chinese company in 2015, emerged as the top-selling product on Double Eleven.

Blackmores pushed a million banner ads to Huawei mobile phone users and erected a billboard in Times Square, New York. But Blackmores Asia managing director Peter Osborne says its centrepiece was a three-hour livestream with a female online influencer in Alibaba's Tmall.

For Bindaree Beef, an abattoir in NSW, the aim was not so much a sales boost but to put its name in front of '' a couple of million people'' .

Alibaba Australia managing director Maggie Zhou says Australia is the best-performing country for selling vitamins and beef to Chinese consumers on Tmall.

As Double Eleven ticked on Saturday , an international media centre had the appearance of a casino, with glowing numbers spinning across the big screen as the sales clocked-up in real-time .

Step aside humans. This Singles' Day - the world's biggest e-commerce shopping festival - will be powered by AI, robots and drones.

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