Asia-Pacific News

Alibaba sales surge $5 billion in first 15 minutes on Singles Day

Key Points
  • In the first 30 seconds, 97 percent of sales were made through mobile devices.
  • Last year, Alibaba cashed in $17.8 billion in sales during the entire one-day event.
We're gaining momentum with Singles Day: Alibaba president

Alibaba hit $5 billion in transactions in less than 15 minutes on Singles Day, blowing the opening minutes of past years for the one-day shopping event out of the water.

To put that figure perspective, Alibaba made more transactions in first 15 minutes of Singles Day this year than it did during the entire first hour of the cybershopping event back in 2015. And last year, it took the Chinese e-commerce giant a full hour to reach $5 billion in transactions.

Within the first 30 seconds, 97 percent of sales were generated through mobile devices.

The peak number of transactions per second so far this year reached 325,000. Payment transactions reached 250,000, about two times greater than in 2016, according to Alibaba's data.

Singles Day is a holiday in China, in which unmarried men and women celebrate their single lifestyle. The holiday derives its name from the date it takes place on, 11/11.

In 2009, Alibaba decided to turn Singles Days into a cybershopping event along the lines of Black Friday in the United States. Last year, Alibaba saw $17.8 billion in sales during the day-long event, far surpassing the $12.8 billion Americans spent in the four days after Thanksgiving.

"It's not that we need Singles Day," Alibaba Group President Michael Evans said in an interview with CNBC on Friday. "It's the opportunity for merchants and consumers to have fun and engage in something that's really exciting. It's the opportunity for consumers to explore and find new brands and new products."

WATCH: CNBC Explains: What is Alibaba's Singles Day?

CNBC Explains: What is Alibaba’s Singles Day?