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With discounts galore and Taylor Swift, Alibaba eyes another record Singles' Day

Alibaba went with bright orange for its brand's color scheme—clearly it’s not afraid of risk Francis Scialabba With discounts galore and Taylor Swift, Alibaba eyes another record Singles' Day
Ginger Lawrence | 11 November, 2019, 03:54

More than 200,000 brands are expected to participate in this year's Singles Day, with a large number of retailers from the United States.

The retail data tracking service estimates that the long US holiday shopping weekend this year will generate total retail sales of $29 billion - that would be less than the $30 billion produced in 2018 by the 24-hour unofficial Chinese shopping holiday known as Singles Day.

That's a new record for the company, which saw $30 billion in total sales for 2018's entire Singles Day.

While previous galas have featured cameos from global superstars such as Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, Pharrell Williams and Jessie J, Swift was notably the only major Western entertainer making an appearance at the 2019 edition of Alibaba's Double 11 extravaganza.

The figure not only surpassed the e-commerce giant's own record, but is also topped Black Friday and Cyber Monday U.S. sales combined.

An hour and a half into the shopping extravaganza, Alibaba said it had topped 2016 sales numbers, with 120.7 billion yuan ($17.25 billion) in GMV recorded.

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Alibiba's Singles Day isn't just an online shopping festival but also a high-on-glamour affair.

Singles' Day was turned into a shopping holiday in 2009. The company makes it look like an elaborate affair with fashion shows and gigs.

November 11 originated as a pupil vacation celebrating being single - kind of a counter-balance to Valentine's Day.

Its heavy marketing campaign underscores intensifying competition with smaller rivals such as Pinduoduo PDD.N which have outsmarted Alibaba in second- and third-tier cities with deep discounts and group-buying deals. Although, Prime Day is touted as one of the biggest annual shopping events, Singles Day has in the last couple of years surpassed Prime Day both in sales and revenues.

More than 22,000 worldwide brands from over 78 countries and regions will participate in this year's 11.11 on Tmall Global, Alibaba's dedicated channel for cross-border e-commerce.

This chart shows Alibaba's GMV on Singles' Day vs. US ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving weekend.