Asia Minute: Most Online Sales Ever in a Single Day

Nov 13, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

While U.S. retailers are preparing for the usual discount sales around Thanksgiving, there was a huge shopping event over the weekend in China. It’s a fairly new tradition, and it’s already grown into a multi-billion dollar operation. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

In the United States, November 11th means Veterans Day.

In China, it’s “Singles Day”—which started off as the brainchild of some students at Nanjing University back in the early 1990’s.

The original idea was to celebrate being single, you know, November 11th,  on the calendar that’s one-one-one-one.

There were parties and gifts.

And after some years had passed, depending on your perspective, there came a new sales opportunity or a wave of commercial exploitation.

E-commerce company Alibaba saw a chance in 2009, and started pushing it as a shopping day – an online shopping day, of course.

So over the weekend, the ninth version of this co-opted observance took place, and Alibaba says more than a million retailers around the world took part.

As for the U.S. retailing equivalents just after Thanksgiving, for years the sales figures in China on Singles Day have blown past the totals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

And the sales story this year spilled into the tens of billions of dollars.

Alibaba says the overall take came to more than 25 billion dollars over 24 hours.

That’s up 40 percent from a year ago, and sets a new record for a single day of shopping sales anywhere in the world.