Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Inc on Monday said sales for its annual Singles Day shopping blitz hit $22.63 billion in its first nine hours, up 25 percent from $18.1 at the same point a year ago.
At the end of the day last night, total sales figure was a whopping 268.4 billion yuan (US$38.36 billion).
China's economy is in the midst of an extended slowdown, exacerbated by the trade dispute with the USA, and the Singles' Day fire sale is viewed as a snapshot of consumer sentiment in the world's second-biggest economy.
Tmall is a business-to-consumer marketplace operated by Alibaba, parent company of the South China Morning Post.
According to the company, the top 10 economies that bought products from China are Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Macau and Canada, respectively.
Liu noted that the first hour of 11.11 pre-sales for Tmall Global saw 113 per cent year-on-year rise in transactions and broke last year's sales record in just 1 hour 47 minutes on first day of pre-sales.
China's annual Singles Day online shopping bonanza has brought in a record $31 billion in sales for Alibaba. It is reported on a real-time basis and includes shipping charges paid, according to Alibaba. Singles' Day has always been an opportunity for Alibaba to test the limits of its cloud computing, delivery and payments systems.
"And if you are thinking that's all Twitter has on Singles" Day, then you are mistaken. It falls on Nov 11 because the date is written with four singles - "11 11". As a kind of antidote to the societal pressures of being in a relationship, many of China's singles began splurging on themselves on Singles' Day, which became seen as a type of anti-Valentine's Day.
As of 4:31pm on Monday, transactions on Tmall had surpassed the 213.5 billion yuan figure for the whole day a year ago.
Ahead of this year's shopping extravaganza, consumers seemed to be as eager as ever to snap up deals.
Alibaba's cloud computing revenue grew by 64% year over year to 9,291 billion yuan during Q2. It has partnered with Kuaishou and Douyin, two popular Chinese video apps, to help it broadcast product promotions, and in the run-up to the show even roped in USA celebrity entrepreneur Kim Kardashian, who launched a Tmall stream to promote her KKW line of beauty products.
The company says it expects more than 500 million people to participate in the 2019 version of the shopping festival. That's almost seven hours faster than orders reached that milestone past year. It also projects 50 million online buyers in Southeast Asia alone during Singles' Day.
Move over Prime Day, Alibaba's shopping holiday just set new spending records. On this day each year, Alibaba pushes its technology and services, such as its cloud computing systems, to the limit.
"A key growth engine of this year's Singles Day is China's lower-tier cities", she said, pointing out that consumers in tier 3 cities demonstrated a higher "willingness to pay" compared with those in tier 2 cities across different product categories.
But the company faced stiff competition this year from smaller platforms including JD.com Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc. - the aggressively expanding upstart that's encroaching on the market leaders' turf.
The 29-year-old's performance included a customized stage for her that created visuals surrounding Swift that was utterly breathtaking.