Alibaba’s Single’s Day sales whizz pass $5 billion in 1 hour

Analysts expect the event to rack up $20 billion in sales this year, up from $14 billion last year.

Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has made the stunning disclosure that it racked up more than $5 billion in online transactions in the 1st hour of its annual ‘Singles’ Day’ sales campaign.

It has exceeded its previous year comparative figure by more than a third.

Every year on November 11, Alibaba holds a 24-hour sales blitz, which has become a sort of a benchmark for its performance. It is also treated as an insight into China’s growing shopping trend of e-commerce through smartphones.

The ‘Single’s Day’ shopping extravaganza was started by Alibaba in 2009, to encourage consumers to treat themselves, especially those without a partner.

The shopping festivals ships more goods than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined.

Sales on Alibaba’s platform, including Taobao and Tmall, are expected to exceed $20 billion, up from 2015’s $14 billion.

“Back in 2013, 35 billion yuan ($5.15 billion) was our one-day GMV (gross merchandise volume),” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in a live microblog posting on Alibaba’s event. “Now we can achieve it in one hour.”

In its microblog, Alibaba said, a tsunami of pre-orders, which shoppers had placed ahead of the event, garnered 1 billion dollars in just under 5 minutes when sales officially opened at midnight.

Much to the detriment of brick and mortar stores, Chinese consumers armed with smartphones are racing to shop online and take advantage of the steep discounts.

As per Alibaba, 84% of sales in the first two hours were from mobile devices.

Fierce competition among companies have caused concerns over false advertising and manipulated statistics, with Chinese business regulators warning mainland online shopping platforms against such devious practices.

Earlier this year in May, the U.S. SEC had begun probing into how Alibaba reports its Single’s Day sales figures. At that time, Alibaba had said, it was cooperating with the authorities.

Alibaba had advised, the fact that the SEC is investigating it should not construed as an indication that the company had violated federal securities laws.

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