Ever since its early days as a student event in the 1990s, November 11 was called “Singles’ Day” in some parts of China; an occasion during which individuals would try and find a partner.
Now, Alibaba has dubbed it “Double 11” — a term the company has trademarked and transformed into the world’s largest shopping event. During this year’s Double 11, taking place on November 11, 2017, Alibaba sold $25.3 billion worth of merchandise.
Created in 2009 as an “Anti-Valentine’s Day,” the “11-11 Global Shopping Festival” is now bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined.
Encompassing a live-broadcast gala, virtual games, and an interactive fashion show, the 24-hour event has become a global extravaganza selling everything from American sneakers to South Korean washing machines and Argentinian shrimp.
Keep reading to see how this year’s event unfolded …
Alibaba hosted a countdown gala in Shanghai that was broadcast live across China. The event was produced by David Hill, who previously worked on the Super Bowl and the Oscars.
The 4-hour gala was held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Nearby, a giant screen tracked sales in real time, which, at one point, reached up to 325,000 orders a second.
The giant screen tracking sales was displayed in front of staff. A large number of pre-orders helped Alibaba do $1 billion in sales in the first two minutes.