Alibaba raked in $1 billion in product sales in just the first two minutes of its annual "Singles Day." In the first hour that number was upwards of $10 billion!
The company's president Michael Evans says these figures aren't a surprise. The day-long e-commerce event put on by the Chinese tech giant has become bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday...combined!
“There’s been a great deal of interest in this year’s Singles Day because we’ve changed many features of it,” Evans said. “This is not just about buying and selling products, this is about having fun. It’s a very social experience.”
The festival held on November 11th, or 11/11, was first conceived in the 1990s as a sort-of holiday for uncoupled people, where they would celebrate their relationship status by buying themselves a few gifts. But the day was taken over by Alibaba in 2009 and has grown in popularity since. Last year the company brought in $17.8 billion, and early indications were that this year would surpass that.
As many as 600 million consumers are expected to partake in the shopping festival, with over 140,000 brands participating and more than 15 million products up for sale. This year Alibaba has expanded its efforts to make the event a fun affair. The company integrated an interactive component for shoppers by introducing a “Pokemon Go”-type augmented reality game.
“The consumer on the mobile phone will track a cat and try to find it. We’ll lead them to an offline store, and there they’ll either get a promotion or be able to get a discount on a product,” Evans said. “It’s really gamification and making it fun.”