Alibaba: Singles' Day e-commerce revenues 2011-2019

On November 11, 2019, also known as Singles’ Day, Chinese consumer spending on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars. Singles’ Day online sales in China usually surpass the U.S. Cyber Monday sales, Black Friday or any other 24-hour shopping campaign by a wide margin making it the biggest shopping holiday in the world.


What is Singles’ Day?

   The holiday is believed to have started in the early 1990s as a student initiative to celebrate their singledom. November 11 (or 11.11) was chosen to represent solitary figures (singles). In 2009, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group created the connection between Singles’ Day and online shopping as the company tried to generate sales for its Tmall platform by offering special pricings and promotions. Since the successful Alibaba’s shopping festival launch, other e-commerce platforms in China besides Tmall and Taobao have also implemented sales on Singles’ Day, profiting immensely from millions of netizens on shopping sprees.

What are the drawbacks of the festival?

   Many argue that the Singles’ Day bonanza encourages people to shop irrationally and wastefully. Alibaba’s logistics alone delivers around a billion orders placed on that day that require cardboard boxes as well plastic wraps and packaging – a huge burden to the environment. It is also a day of overtime and chaos for many workers in thousands of warehouses and courier units across the country. Finally, no matter how good the sales bargains might be, a considerable portion of the Chinese population still cannot afford to participate. Hence the sense of inequality and the income gap becomes even more evident on Singles’ Day.

Alibaba's gross merchandise volume on Singles' Day from 2011 to 2019

Gross merchandise volume in billion U.S. dollars
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Source

Release date

November 2019

Region

Worldwide, China

Survey time period

November 11, 2011 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Figures for earlier years have been taken from previous publications.

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