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How Singles' Day compares to Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day

Ines Ferré
·Markets Reporter
·2 min read

Alibaba’s (BABA) Singles’ Day has quickly become the biggest online shopping event in the world. Once again, you can expect it to dwarf digital sales in the U.S. for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon’s (AMZN) Prime Day.

Started to celebrate being single in China, Singles’ Day always falls on November 11 because the date 11/11 represents four singles standing together. The holiday became a monster shopping event beginning in 2009 with Alibaba offering steep, round-the-clock discounts. Today the holiday is for all, with competitors like JD.com (JD) and Pinduoduo (PDD) also offering deals on November 11.

Alibaba saw sales for its Singles’ Day festival total more than 498.2 billion yuan, or over $75 billion, up from 268 billion yuan of purchases last year, Bloomberg reported Wednesday just after 11 a.m. ET. The e-commerce giant started the sale earlier this year, with sales lasting 11 days instead of 24 hours.

A mascot for Tmall, an online shopping website owned by Alibaba, promotes Singles Day in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. On Nov. 11, online shoppers are expected to spend billions of dollars on "Singles' Day," a quirky holiday that has grown into the world's busiest day for e-commerce. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A mascot for Tmall, an online shopping website owned by Alibaba, promotes Singles Day in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. On Nov. 11, online shoppers are expected to spend billions of dollars on "Singles' Day," a quirky holiday that has grown into the world's busiest day for e-commerce. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Last year about half a billion shoppers bought about $38.4 billion worth of goods on Alibaba’s platforms. That’s a 26% increase year over year.

Singles’ Day performance was higher than the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in which U.S. shoppers spent a record $28.49 billion online last year, according to Adobe Analytics data. Some $7.2 billion was spent on Black Friday, while Cyber Monday generated $9.4 billion in digital sales.

Meanwhile Amazon’s Prime Day, seen by some this year as the unofficial start to the holiday season, brought in about $10.4 billion in sales, up 45% from last year’s $7.14 billion in sales.

Alibaba added a promotional window from Nov 1 - Nov 3, ahead of this week’s official event, giving a glimpse of how foreign brands are performing.

Bloomberg reports during the first 111 minutes of sales on Nov. 1, Nike (NKE) and Apple (AAPL) were some of the 100 brands generating about $15 million in transactions. Esteé Lauder (EL) was the first to surpass 1 billion yuan in sales on the company’s Tmall platform.

Live streaming will be a key part of this years Singles Day with Alibaba highlighting livestream sessions involving hundreds of celebrities including Katy Perry.

Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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