Alibaba Clocks Record Breaking $14.3B in Sales on Singles Day

While India was engaged in celebrating its festival of lights to appease the Goddess of wealth, its next door neighbour China was splurging money online on the occasion of Singles Day. Yes, Chinese economy is still slowing down, however on this day of mega online sale most of the online companies saw their cash registers ringing. Alibaba in particular again came out as the biggest eCommerce player on this day, earning over $14 billion in GMV in 24 hours of sale.

Tmall sales

An electronic screen shows that the transaction volume of Alibaba’s Tmall (Image Source)

With its suite of stores (Tmall, Taobao etc.) Alibaba has been breaking its own record year on year. In 12 hours on Wednesday, the transactions crossed 2014’s record of $9.3 billion. Additionally, online retailer also saw a fair share of sales where it clocked $14 million till mid day.

Singles Day is China’s version of Cyber Monday, which takes place on 11/11 every year. It started as an anti-Valentine’s day back in the 90s, and since 2007 Alibaba started promoting it as an online festival. This year Jack Ma took the event promotion to another level by having a 4 hour launch show before the sale with celebrities including Adam Lambert, Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey.

A few numbers…

80% - Alibaba owns 80% of the Chinese online retail marketshare

$5 billion - Sales on Alibaba and its other sites crossed $5 billion in first 90 minutes

70% - Over 70% of sales on Wednesday morning came from Alibaba’s and’s mobile sites

6 million - Around 6 million people are employed in the express logistics companies which would be delivering eCommerce parcels

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120,000 - BBC estimates Alibaba received 120,000 orders/minute on 2015 Singles Day

1.7 million couriers, 400,000 vehicles and 200 planes are what Alibaba says will take to deliver the orders it has received

Beyond the sale, Alibaba is trying to attract more international brands and sellers to its platforms. At the same time it is also trying to promote the native sellers overseas, such as through its tie up with Indian eCommerce portal Paytm.

It has to be noted that these massive sales numbers do not directly translate into the company’s revenues, as it earns through advertisements and other services it provides to its sellers and not by the commission generated per sale. Nonetheless, the day proved to be an excellent example of the purchasing power the connected consumers hold and how eCommerce companies can be profitable if they get their business model right.