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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sets online shopping record with $31B in sales

CNET logo CNET 12/11/2018 Steven Musil

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(Video provided by Bloomberg)

Alibaba's Singles' Day shopping bonanza has set another record for online sales.

The annual 24-hour online shopping spree notched 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in sales, the Chinese e-commerce giant said Sunday, surpassing last year's record of $25.3 billion. Products from Xiaomi, Apple and Dyson topped early sales.

Called the 11/11 Global Shopping Festival, otherwise known as Singles' Day in China because of its collection of ones, it's perhaps the world's biggest online shopping extravaganza. Asia's version of Black Friday was created in 2009 by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to draw buyers to Alibaba's shopping platform, Tmall. 

But Singles' Day easily dwarfs international equivalents like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, traditionally the largest online shopping days in the US, when consumers flock to the internet for deals the day after Thanksgiving. By comparison, last year's Black Friday saw $5.03 billion in online sales.

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd: A screen shows the gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, after two seconds of Singles' Day sales. © CNET A screen shows the gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, after two seconds of Singles' Day sales. More than 180,000 Chinese and international brands helped celebrate the 10th 11/11 shopping spree, which also featured televised entertainment from names such as Cirque du Soleil and Mariah Carey.

The day started out as a kind of "anti-Valentine's Day" where China's lonely hearts revel in their singlehood.

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