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Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales Eclipse Black Friday in Less Than an Hour

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In the first 68 seconds of China’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, consumers spent $1 billion online at Alibaba Group. In the first hour, they had dished out $12 billion.

By festival close, final sales for the one-day shopping event had reached $38.4 billion, according to Alibaba Group. That’s more than Amazon sells in two months.

The numbers shatter spending for the once comparable Black Friday weekend bonanza.

Consumer spending from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday last year, totaled $24.2 billion, with Black Friday—11.11’s counterpart—bringing in just $6.22 billion, according to Adobe Insights.

Singles Day, or Double 11 as it’s sometimes called, has quickly risen the ranks to the world’s biggest shopping event, morphing from a small way to boost attention for online shopping in 2009, into a sales extravaganza that happens every Nov. 11. Now in its 11th year, the event has brands and retailers from all over the world using it is a platform to reach the Chinese consumer.

Allbirds, for one, released two special editions of its signature sustainable Wool Runners sneakers to celebrate its first foray into the 11.11 frenzy, as well as into the China market.

“While we understand this is a crowded retail time, we also see huge potential to leverage Tmall to educate shoppers on the Allbirds ethos and our commitment to making ‘better things in a better way,’” Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger told Alizila, Alibaba’s news platform.

The brand is using Tmall—its first digital sales channel in China following a flagship store opening in Shanghai in April—to sell products and build awareness in ways that appeal to the market, like livestreaming, which has increasingly become one of the key ways to reach Chinese consumers in recent years.

“We’re just getting started in China,” Zwillinger said. “The market has been a leader in the evolving retail landscape, which makes it an excellent fit for our brand’s creative ethos.”

Livestreaming was the way Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer online retail platform, got Kim Kardashian West involved in the Single’s Day sales ramp up, too.

“It’s becoming so popular as a feature that we have involved many international celebrities from different domains of expertise to talk about how to use the products,” Alibaba CMO Chris Tung said. Ahead of the shopping festival, Kardashian West joined a livestream to talked about her KKW Beauty line, and according to Tung, more than 13 million consumers tuned in and the stock sold out “in a few minutes.”

The $38.4 billion in sales raked in Monday marked 26 percent year over year growth in sales for Single’s Day at Alibaba, the company announced via Twitter.

“This is another exciting year for us,” Tung said. “We’re seeing great momentum behind the consumption.”

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