The holiday you’ve never heard of (until perhaps yesterday) just debuted to the world and is taking ecommerce sales by storm. Yesterday was Singles Day, China’s Anti-Valentine’s Day started by Chinese retail Giant Alibaba. The manufactured holiday has swiftly and decidedly become the biggest online shopping day in the world, dwarfing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. In what was a formidable demonstration of the consumption power of the Chinese consumer, Alibaba pulled in over $9.3 billion in sales over a 24 hour period yesterday (more than $2 billion in the first two hours alone). Since the first Singles Day in 2009, company sales have seen meteoric growth (5,740% increase in sales between 2009 and 2013) and this year’s sales surpassed all expectations, crushing last year’s record of $5.75 billion.
This year was also the first time that Alibaba allowed Chinese shoppers to buy overseas deals directly from overseas retailers’ main websites using Alipay, Alibaba’s main payment option (Alipay recently announced plans to IPO and potentially partner with ApplePay). More than 200 merchants from outside the US got in on the action yesterday, among thema handful of US brands that did particularly well (as well as somestrange products). A total of 27,000 merchants participated on Tmall.com, Alibaba’s leading site (up from 27 merchants in 2009). And as more merchants and other ecommerce companies around the world look to get in on the record-breaking sales, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma’s prediction that Singles Day will be a global holiday in 5 years may prove correct. Seemingly overnight, an obscure holiday originally intended to celebrate single people seems destined to become the biggest spending frenzy on the planet.