The world’s biggest shopping day just kicked off in China with the start of Singles Day, the annual online shopfest. At the end of the first hour of discounts, at 1 a.m. Beijing time, China’s two biggest E-commerce sites, Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall, saw consumers spend $2 billion in just 60 minutes.
That surpasses last year’s first hour tally of just over $1 billion on Alibaba’s sites. Promotions included 50 percent off and Tmall offered free international shipping.
Last year’s 24-hour spending tally on Alibaba’s e-stores hit $5.8 billion, a record that will likely be shattered by the end of the day.
Before the sales even began at midnight, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the company was seeing huge traffic on the sites as shoppers loaded their baskets in readiness for the discounts to appear. Zhang attributed the stronger traffic compared to last year to more shoppers browsing on mobile devices after getting home from work. The company has declined to predict how big the Singles Day spending total could be this year.