The world’s biggest online shopping holiday, “Singles’ Day” kicked off on Nov. 11 in China—and the numbers were immediately massive. Chinese e-retailer Alibaba’s merchandise sales exceeded $1 billion within the event’s first eight minutes, beginning at midnight in Beijing.
That’s rocket speed compared to last year, when the company took an hour to sell 11 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) worth of goods—and is a stark illustration of how much bigger China’s online shopping market is than the US’s.
The final sales tally over 24 hours was 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion), an increase of about 60% from last year.
By comparison, the US’s largest online shopping event, “Cyber Monday” brought in over $2 billion in sales from desktops during the entire day, ComScore reported. (The majority of Americans still do their online shopping on a desktop.)
Singles’ Day, held on November 11 every year in China, ostensibly sprang from a university student celebration of male and female bachelorhood. It has since been transformed by Alibaba into an online sales bonanza.