Alibaba’s efforts to expand Singles Day from a one-day event to a multi-week affair have paid off in spades. The e-Commerce giant generated $12 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV) in the first hour of its 2019 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, taking only one minute and eight seconds for GMV transactions to reach $1 billion. For the 24-hour total, the Chinese e-Commerce giant said sales by merchants on its platforms reached $38.4 billion, surpassing last year’s total of $30.8 billion by 26% and even beating previous estimates of $37 billion.
Even as concerns about a slowing Chinese economy and a trade war with the U.S. were on many analysts’ minds, 2019 Singles Day sales nearly doubled that of Thanksgiving weekend 2018, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which drove a total of $20.8 billion in online sales, according to Adobe.
As in previous years, chief competitor JD.com also benefitted from Singles Day sales, with the former reporting sales of $25.6 billion by mid-afternoon. Another rival, electronics retailer Suning, said sales of smartphones and other electronics passed $160 million in the first minute after midnight. The company said sales throughout the remainder of the day were up 86% over 2018 but gave no total.
During Singles Day pre-sales, which kicked off three weeks ago, Estée Lauder raked in a record $143 million in pre-orders, Alibaba said, adding that its users also pre-ordered $14 million worth of Apple iPhone 11s.
Nike, Allbirds Among U.S. Brands Partaking In Singles Day
While most U.S. retailers haven’t made significant efforts to introduce the Singles Day concept to American consumers, select brands such as Nike, Brooks Brothers, Columbia and ColourPop are offering Singles Day discounts on their web sites in the U.S, and Levi Strauss designed an exclusive line of apparel.
Additionally, Allbirds released two special editions of its signature sneakers to celebrate Singles Day. The San Francisco-based footwear company participated in the mega-sale for the first time, after opening its flagship store on Tmall in April. More than 80% of consumers that shopped at Allbirds throughout the day were new, according to Erick Haskell, Allbirds President of International. To celebrate 11.11, Allbirds created new two-color combinations for its classic Wool Runners – Fiesta Red and Sky Blue.