How to sell $30.8 billion in a day

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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The Global Shopping festival Alibaba founder Jack Ma created saw $30.8 billion in sales transacted on Alibaba's platforms.

The magnitude of Alibaba’s 10th annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is hard to comprehend. The 24-hour sale event, which used to be called Singles Day, saw gross merchandise sales volume of $30.8 billion transacted on the Alibaba platform in a 24-hour period. That’s a 27 percent increase from the prior year. The company’s logistics network processed more than one billion delivery orders.

According to Alibaba, more than 180,000 brands participated this year and 237 brands exceeded RMB100 million ($14.4 million) in GMV including international brands Apple, Dyson, Kindle, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Nestle, Gap, Nike and Adidas. More than 40 percent of consumers made purchases from an international brand with the top countries selling to China including Japan, United States, South Korea, Australia and Germany.

The enormous sales volumes are a reflection of what Alibaba officials call China’s expanding middle class’s quest for an upgrade in lifestyle through the consumption of higher-quality products and services. It is a long term secular trend Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said is, “not going to stop, trade war or no trade war.”

Here’s a highlights video to get a sense of how China’s consumers celebrated the festival. There is a lot of tapping on smart phones.