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$1.3 Billion Spent In Five Minutes For Alibaba’s Singles’ Day

Alibaba reported sales of US$1 billion ($1.3 billion) in the first five minutes of the company’s 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping event.

The company saw a record-breaking US$14.3 billion in sales on Singles’ Day last year, an increase of 60 per cent on 2014. Alibaba is confident sales records will be broken again this year, and is taking advantage of virtual and augmented reality to drive consumers to their sites

Singles’ Day originally began in 1993 as a celebration of single life by Chinese university students, before Alibaba turned the day into a mega shopping event beginning in 2009. The event drives significantly more sales than the equivalent Black Friday and Cyber Monday events in the United States later in November, which together saw US$4.45 billion in 2015.

A star-studded event attended by celebrities including Kobe Bryant and One Direction kicked off a pre-sale event last night, designed to attract attention from an international audience. Analysts and investors are watching closely to see whether this year’s Singles’ Day can replicate the sales increases of previous years, with a weakening currency and slowing economy potentially having some effect.

11,000 brands are included in this year’s event, with some companies using Singles’ Day as a way to increase their brand profile in China. About a third of buyers in last year’s event were located outside of China, with high demand for Levi’s jeans and Nike shoes.

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