China's Singles' Day smashes retail records with $33 billion in 24 hours

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:42:49 AM. Online shoppers spent a record $33 billion in 24 hours on November 11 in the annual Singles' Day — once a celebration of being single, now the world's largest retail event.
Photo: Nicole Kidman joined Alibaba chairman Jack Ma to launch Singles' Day. (Reuters: Aly Song) Shoppers have spent more than $33 billion in 24 hours during China's annual Singles Day, smashing previous records for the world's largest retail event and eclipsing Australia's annual December retail spend. Singles' Day — Guanggun Jie, literally "single sticks holiday" — reportedly originated in Chinese universities in the 1990s as a celebration of being single. The date November 11 was chosen because it consists of four ones: 11/11. After Singles' Day became widespread in China it became a retail event heavily promoted by online marketplace Alibaba.com, which trademarked the term "Double 11" in 2012 and threatened legal action against media outlets that accepted advertising from competitors using the term. Although many retailers take advantage of the day and advertise discounts, it is still widely associated with Alibaba, which does not operate as a retailer itself but provides a platform for other companies to establish online stores. The 2017 event began soon after a star-studded event in Shanghai late on Friday, when celebrities including Nicole Kidman, who managed a few words of Mandarin, and singer Pharrell Williams joined Chinese celebrities and Alibaba chairman Jack Ma. As midnight hit, a deluge of pre-orders helped drive $1 billion of sales on Alibaba's platforms in the first two minutes and $10 billion in just over an hour. The 2016 event set a record for Alibaba of...Read more
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