Jack Ma (right) applauds as a giant screen shows the remarkable sale volume that indicates Alibaba’s sales has passed 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) within seven minutes of the start of China's Singles Day online sale. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese shoppers shrugged off any concerns over a slowing economy and bought 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) worth of goods within the first seven minutes after Alibaba's Singles Day online shopping festival kicked off on Friday.
Alibaba said the sales once again set new records. Last year, Hangzhou-based Alibaba took more than 12 minutes to hit sales volume of 10 billion yuan.
Shoppers spent more than 35.3 billion yuan within the first hour.
Similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, China's Singles Day shopping festival is the world's largest, with Alibaba alone generating gross merchandize volume of 91.2 billion yuan in the 24-hour sales last year.
Sales records have been broken every year since the man-made online shopping event was introduced by the e-commerce giant on November 11, 2009. After years of development, the event has become a shopping extravaganza with e-commerce companies and brick-and-mortar retailers jumping in to ride the huge spending wave.
Among the participants, Alibaba's online shopping event is still the country's largest and is going global with an increasing number of overseas brands trying to access Chinese consumers and a rising tide of buyers outside China aiming to get great deals during the event.
A report released by Fung Business Intelligence Center in early November estimated that Alibaba could see a 40 percent surge in sales in this year's Singles Day event.
E-commerce has become a game changer in China's retail industry and it has reshaped how people shop in China.
Statistics from the London-based eMarketer showed that retail ecommerce sales in China will increase by 35.6 percent this year to reach $899.09 billion representing more than 18 percent of total retail sales. By 2020 retail e-commerce sales will account for more than a third of all retails sales in China.
The significant growth of e-commerce in China has in turn pushed the development of logistics industry and online payment technology. Statistics from Alibaba showed that about 90 percent of the transactions were completed by wireless devices, such as smartphones, in the first 30 minutes of the Nov 11 event. And the first orders were successfully delivered to its buyer within 13 minutes from the start of the mega shopping event.