China's Singles' Day has quickly become the biggest online shopping event in the world, dwarfing digital sales in the US for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon's Prime Day.
The event already appears to be on pace to break records as Alibaba said early Wednesday morning that the annual sales frenzy has so far pulled in $56.3 billion. The total includes the first 30 minutes of the event, along with an earlier three-day period that was added to boost post-pandemic sales, reports the CNN.
Started to celebrate being single in China, Singles' Day always falls on 11 November 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. Presently, the holiday is for all, with Alibaba's competitors like JD.com also offering deals on 11 November.
Last year about half a billion shoppers bought about $38.4 billion worth of goods on Alibaba's platforms – an 26% increase year over year.
Singles' Day performance was higher than the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in which US shoppers spent a record $28.49 billion online last year, according to Adobe Analytics data.
Around $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 1 November - 3 November, 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 1 November, Nike and Apple were some of the 100 brands generating about $15 million in transactions.
Esteé Lauder 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.