In 5 minutes of online sale, Alibaba rakes in $3 billion

Chinese villagers snap up Buicks limited-edition Burberry scarves sell out in Singles’ Day promotionMore

"China's GDP per capita was about US$800 per person back in 1999 when I joined the company, and has risen to about US$9,000 per person today, an average across 1.3 billion people".

Sales rose 27 percent, compared with 39 percent a year ago.

During the first hour of the giant shopping event, known as Singles' Day or 11.11, referring to the date November 11, the top three brands sold were Xiaomi, Apple and Dyson, while the top categories were audio equipment, mobile phones and diapers.

The e-commerce giant launched the annual online shopping promotion on November 11, 2009.

No one expects Alibaba to generate whopper Singles Day sales growth numbers every year for eternity.

Total online sales on Black Friday reached $US5 billion in 2017, according to Adobe Analytics data. But he mostly shrugged off the threat, arguing declining sales on big ticket items are being offset by sales in areas, like fashion apparel, cosmetics and mother and baby products, plus, he added, "6.5 percent GDP growth in China is still pretty robust".

Last year, the Chinese company expanded the event to the Western market, with downloads of its app AliExpress surging in the United States and UK.

More news: IPhone XR sales reportedly kill production boost plan

Still, Alibaba is intent on beating 2017's 39 percent growth and 168 billion yuan in transactions, a haul that dwarfed the signature USA shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Alibaba has claimed that it sold $3 billion worth of goods in the first five minutes of the sale kicking off.

Singles' Day was started by Chinese students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. Both "holidays" were created or built up for pretty much the sole objective of offering deals and pushing sales.

So what exactly is Single's Day? While Amazon does not release Prime Day sales figures, total online sales are estimated to have topped $US4.2 billion over the company's 36-hour Prime Day event in July 2018, according to Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter.

This year, the shopping festival is focusing on Alibaba's New Retail strategy -the convergence of online and offline retail through technology. This is the 10th year that the company has celebrated 11/11.

Alibaba will help local companies grow rather than putting business itself there, he said.

Now in its 10th year, Alibaba's annual shopping fest features over 500,000 items across 180,000 brands on Tmall.

While small appliances and cosmetics were strong on Sunday, sales in big-ticket items including large appliances slowed alongside a downturn in the housing market, Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai told press.

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