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Last Year, Alibaba's Singles Day Shopping Event Sales Hit $1 Billion in 85 Seconds

This happened in spite of tariffs and other challenges to Chinese tech.

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This story originally appeared on Engadget

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is fond of crowing about its online shopping records, and that was truer than ever in 2019. The company's annual Global Shopping Festival, aka Singles Day, broke 2018's record by selling $30.8 billion in goods across 230 countries over the space of 24 hours, a hefty 27 percent increase over the $25.3 billion from 2017. However, the initial burst also stood out. It took just 85 seconds for Alibaba to sell its first $1 billion, and an hour to top $10 billion. That's well past U.S. holiday sales -- for context, Black Friday 2017 "only" generated $5 billion in online sales.

Alibaba via engadget

The brands that most profited from the event included Apple, Dyson, Gap and Nike, among other big names.

While not everyone is necessarily keen to celebrate a shopping frenzy (the event is basically an ode to unfettered consumerism), it's also no mean feat considering the obstacles Alibaba had to face. U.S. tariffs potentially affected the cost of some products, and the Chinese yuan isn't worth as much as it was a year earlier. Alibaba also cut its revenue expectations as a result of its less-than-certain future. This suggests that the festival is large enough to be independent of the ups and downs of China. Like it or not, it's a cultural institution for some people.

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Jon Fingas is an associate editor at Engadget.