China's "Singles' Day" smashes sales records this year

Celebrating those without a special someone in their lives, there are discounts to be had for shoppers and incredible sums to be made by retailers...

China's "Singles' Day" smashes sales records this year

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You might not know it, but the largest online shopping day in the world is nearing an end.

A kind of anti-Valentine's Day originally started by Beijing students in the '90s (according to the Communist Party-owned People’s Daily), Singles' Day was adopted by the country's leading ecommerce firm, Alibaba, in 2009 and transformed into a commercial juggernaut.

The big discounts offered saw shoppers spend over $14bn (€12.8bn) last year alone, four times the amount spent on US retail events Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

With roughly 140,000 transactions taking place every second at peak times, 467 million delivery orders were processed across China on the day.

Now the 2016 edition – which has been endorsed by the celebrity likes of David Beckham, Kobe Bryant ad Scarlett Johansson – has left last year in the shade before its even finished.

With four hours to go, Alibaba sales had reached $15bn (€13.78), sailing past last year's total. With proceedings kicking off at midnight, sales shot past the $1bn (€920m) mark in less than five minutes. 

Transactions conducted through mobile devices were up 80% on last year's amount. All this at a time when the Chinese economy is growing at its slowest rate in 25 years.