Alibaba says Singles' Day sales hit 91.2 billion yuan in first hour

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The company also said that sales figures are likely to see huge growth from last year's figures of $30 billion. Total sales today clearly look set to eclipse analysts' expectations of a new record.

Taylor Swift, whose latest album "Lover" has broken records in China, will headline this year's opening gala alongside local celebrities like Jackson Yee.

In 2009 it was turned into a major online shopping "holiday' by e-commerce giant Alibaba and continues to grow in popularity across the globe".

A year ago was Alibaba's largest Singles' Day ever, with a total of $30.8 billion in revenue, a 27% increase over 2018.

This year's edition of Singles Day is being touted as the largest single day shopping event not only of the year and is expected to generate more sales than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day combined, according to Adobe Analytics.

Sales on Black Friday (including Thanksgiving) came to $8.2 billion while Cyber Monday netted $6 billion.

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Alibaba anticipates 500 million shoppers will take part in the 11.11 event this year, up from about 100 million recorded last year.

The U.S. Black Friday shopping frenzy this year will take place on November 28 while Cyber Monday is scheduled for December 2.

Almost a quarter of USA retailers plan to run promotions for Singles Day, according to Adobe, which surveyed more than 400 US retailers with annual sales in excess of $500,000. Thousands of couples now marry on Singles' Day, which is a fact at odds with its name. It also projects 50 million online buyers in Southeast Asia alone during Singles' Day.

Alibaba celebrates Singles Day as a day for those who are not in romantic relationships to pamper themselves by shopping online.

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. Shopee launched it own on October 24 while JD.com set its preorder period from October 18 to 31.

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

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