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Alibaba sets new Singles Day record with $84.5 billion in sales

The Alibaba 2021 11.11 Global Shopping Festival delivered steady growth (Photo: Business Wire).

The 13th annual Alibaba Global Shopping Festival (known colloquially as “11.11” or “Singles Day” proved lucky with an all-time high gross merchandise volume (GMV) total.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reported a final GMV of $84.54 billion (all financial metrics in this article are in U.S. dollars). This figure came in ahead of the formerly record-setting total of $74.1 billion reported for Alibaba’s 2020 Singles Day event, which in turn more than doubled the previously record-setting $38.4 billion in GMV Alibaba generated during 2019 Singles Day.

For the second year in a row, Singles Day was an 11-day event. Before 2020, it had been a 24-hour promotion with some preview sales.

A record 290,000 brands participated in the 2021 edition of Singles Day, of which 65% are small and medium-sized businesses, and new brands. Ahead of the 2021 event, Alibaba Group fully migrated all systems and operations onto its public cloud. Alibaba said that use of renewable energy in the Zhangbei County data center, which plays a major role in supporting its e-commerce businesses, reduced more than 26,000 tons of carbon emission.

Highlights from Singles Day 2021 include:

  • 78 brands grew to surpass $15 million in GMV this year, up from $1.5 million in GMV last year; while 698 brands grew to surpass $1.5 million this year from $150,000 in GMV last year.
  • Over 1,600 brands participated in a new membership challenge campaign on Tmall and attracted over 97 million new members during the event.
  • More than 1.3 million new products were offered by over 29,000 overseas brands that participated via Tmall Global this year, with some 2,800 overseas brands joining for the first time.

The GMV of Singles Day 2021 outpaced combined U.S. online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 (roughly $20 billion according to Adobe Analytics estimates) and Amazon Prime Day 2021 (exceeding $11 billion according to Adobe Digital Economy Index estimates). 

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival began in 2009 with participation from 27 retailers as an event for merchants and consumers to raise awareness about the value of online shopping. More than 290,000 brands participated in the 2021 edition of the event.

"This 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, we delivered steady and quality growth that is a reflection of the dynamic Chinese consumption economy,” said Yang Guang, VP at Alibaba Group. “We also leveraged the power of 11.11 as a platform to fulfill our social responsibility. This year’s festival was a meaningful milestone as part of our commitment towards building a sustainable future."

Note: GMV for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is the total value of orders settled through Alipay on Alibaba's China retail marketplaces, Kaola, Lazada, AliExpress, and New Retail and consumer services platforms from Nov. 1-11, 2021. It is reported on a real-time basis and includes shipping charges paid (where applicable).

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