Alibaba says Singles' Day sales hit $13 billion in first hour

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"While Black Friday and Cyber Monday still dominate the online shopping days in New Zealand, we're expecting Singles' Day this year to be bigger than ever as Kiwi consumers and e-tailers jump on the bandwagon", Dobson said. Total sales today clearly look set to eclipse analysts' expectations of a new record.

This year, the 24-hour shopping fest kicked off with a performance by U.S. pop star Taylor Swift.

Alibaba's double 11 shopping festival's sales have been growing at a fast pace since it was born.

"Campaigns happen throughout the year, but this is really the one we have invested the most in and we're creating an engagement and a buzz that is absolutely unique", he added, addressing the saturation of other promotional days like October 10, December 12, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

During Singles' Day in 2018, Alibaba delivered more than one billion packages during the 24-hour spending spree as hundreds of millions of Chinese spent lavishly on this day that started out in 1993 to celebrate bachelorhood but has since morphed into China's second Valentine's Day.

Total sales previous year amounted to more than $30 billion, which beats the revenue taken by USA retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

This year, the event generated $123 million of gross merchandise value for Lazada, representing a 171 percent increase since last year's Singles Day. Thousands of couples now marry on Singles' Day, which is a fact at odds with its name.

But despite the shopping festival's commercial success for local retailers, 73 per cent of New Zealanders have not heard of Singles' Day, according to price and product comparison site PriceSpy.

More Kiwis were spending and shopping online more often, with shopping holidays such as Singles' Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday becoming a "major factor" in online shopping habits, a recent NZ Post report found.

Other Chinese companies offer deals on Singles Day, including Pinduoduo - the country's third-largest e-commerce platform.

Alibaba launched its ore-orders October 21.

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

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