Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba’s annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival has only just begun and it has already generated $12.0 billion in GMV (84 billion yuan) during the first hour since the event kicked off at midnight.
Sales topped $800 million in the first minute, and surpassed $8.7 billion in just the first 20 minutes of the deals surfacing online, according to Bloomberg. Last year, according to Forbes, sales topped $30 billion in total, a massive jump over the $25 billion generated in 2017.
During the first minute of the event, Taobao servers experienced its annual crash once more due to a massive surge in traffic volume from consumers keen to take advantage of the discounts. According to Alibaba, the GMV generated was calculated from payments settled through Alipay, the mobile and online payment platform by Ant Financial.
The most popular products on Taobao are those in the cosmetics and beauty categories, including lipsticks from major brands like Tom Ford, Lancome, and Estee Lauder, along with face masks and loads of other skincare products.
Alibaba’s video streaming platform, Youku, hosted the fifth annual countdown gala, which included interactive performances from American superstar Taylor Swift and other international and domestic celebrities. American TV star Kim Kardashian had also jumped on the Chinese retail bandwagon this week by live-streaming on Taobao with local influencer Viya, to show off her KKW cosmetics line to the roughly 12 million viewers, according to Quartz.
In the first hour, the top 3 countries and regions selling to China by GMV were Japan, the United States and South Korea, respectively.
Hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, Alibaba’s shopping gala was broadcast live across nearly 30 platforms and TV channels.