Consumers in China have come to expect big online Singles’ Day sales every Nov. 11, and this year it became more of an international event on AliExpress, the global shopping site operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s leading e-commerce company.
Although Alibaba did not disclose how much in dollar terms consumers purchased on AliExpress, the company said the marketplace—which offers translation into 91 languages—processed 21.2 million orders during the sale. That was more than triple the 6.8 million orders placed on Singles’ Day in 2014, the first year AliExpress joined the big online marketplaces Alibaba operates in China, Taobao and Tmall, by offering steep discounts on Nov. 11. All told, Alibaba says its e-commerce sites sold $14.3 billion in that 24-hour period.
The top 10 countries in terms of Singles’ Day sales on AliExpress were Russia, Spain, the United States, Israel, Ukraine, Belarus, France, Chile, the United Kingdom and Canada, according to AliExpress. Orders also came in from several of the world’s smallest countries, including Saint Helena, San Marino and Barbados. AliExpress said it had to temporarily halt purchases from a few European banks that could not handle the surge of orders.
40% of the purchases were made on mobile devices, and AliExpress says on Nov. 11 its app was the most popular one in the Apple App Store and Google Play in Russia, Spain and Israel. For this year’s Singles’ Day, AliExpress operated an “Apple Zone” that offered owners of Apple products exclusive deals and limited-time offers.
AliExpress also reported the following data on its Singles’ Day sales:
- Cellphone cases were the most popular product, with 1.3 million orders placed.
- Consumers ordered more than 4,000 wedding dresses, more than 200,000 pairs of socks and over 13,000 shavers.
- The top Chinese sellers were smartphone maker Xiaomi, No. 2 in the Internet Retailer 2015 China 500; smartphone maker Meizu and cellphone accessory manufacturer Cube Electronics.
While overseas consumers bought mainly Chinese-made goods on AliExpress during the Singles’ Day sale, Chinese consumers flocked to deals from foreign brands. Alibaba’s Tmall, the more brand-friendly of Alibaba’s marketplaces, offered Chinese shoppers deals from 5,000 foreign brands during the big sale, Alibaba says.