Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Alibaba Singles Day sales frenzy surpasses records

Alibaba Singles Day sales frenzy surpasses records

Online discounts have been offered on 11 November, Alibaba's informal holiday for singles, since 2009.

The sale covers obvious goods like smartphones, TVs and other big-ticket consumer items, but also fashion, clothing, furniture, health products and more.

"Singles Day is different now - it has more tricks than before", Ren said.

The Chinese company hit a record $1bn in sales in 85 seconds, and then just shy of $10bn in the first hour of the 24-hour spree.

Less than 10 minutes in, Alibaba's massive 24-hour online shopping extravaganza had generated more than $US4.68 billion in sales.

Last year, Alibaba recorded $25 billion in the sales of 24 hours.

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David Frum, a frequent Trump critic who was once a speechwriter for President George W. The celebration is scheduled to start on Saturday.

But surely Singles' Day can't be bigger than Black Friday, right?

The event was kicked off on Saturday with a gala featuring USA singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyoncé impersonator and a shoe-shopping-themed Cirque du Soleil performance.

Online sales growth is also slowing across the board in the country's eastern mega-cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, and Alibaba said roughly 75 percent of new users last quarter were in "less developed" areas. "It's when retailers use the best products and best prices to show their gratitude to our consumers". The company had announced in September earlier this year that the current chief executive Daniel Zhang will take over as chairman next year. Hong Tao, an economics professor at Beijing Technology and Business University, said Singles Day encourages shoppers to prioritize cheap prices over high quality, causing them to purchase items they don't need. The sale is a one-day long event.

Analysts say that despite continued strong growth, sales are likely to be hit by economic headwinds and new competition from competing sales events. Alibaba's Tmall hosts a national television gala on November 10 with a countdown to the midnight start of Singles' Day that gives the event a New Year's Eve at Times Square feel.

Earlier this month it revised down its full-year sales outlook by 4-6 percent, sending further chills through the company's stock price, which has dropped roughly 16 percent this year after nearly doubling in 2017.

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