A new global e-retail record was set on November 11 when Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba finished its annual sale on Single’s Day—a new holiday in China popularized and trademarked by Alibaba to encourage splurging on oneself—with a smashing $9.3 billion (RMB 57.1 billion) in total transaction volume. This astronomical number surpassed the combined $3.7 billion online sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday made from desktops in the U.S. last year, according to comScore.
To achieve such an impressive number, Alibaba tried a couple of new tricks this year. First, it streamlined the purchase experience on smartphones, where 43% of this year’s sales reportedly came from. It also signed special logistics deals with delivery companies to facilitate faster movement of the 200 million orders generated on that day.
Alibaba also successfully connected Chinese consumers with international brands and online retailers: more than 200 merchants from over 20 countries participated with special discounts, including Muji, Desigual, and The North Face. Chinese shoppers bought overseas deals not just though Alibaba’s own retail sites, such as Taobao and Tmall, but also from overseas retailers’ official websites with Alipay, thanks to its newly-launched EPass program.
Considering the 60% increase from last year’s sales, Alibaba’s strategy of turning a silly, unofficial holiday into a national shopping frenzy provides a shining example for retailers worldwide.