By the time the clock struck 12 in China signaling the end of the Singles' Day, Alibaba (BABA) has raked in 120.7 billion renminbi ($17.8 billion) of gross merchandise volume (GMV), a 32% increase compared to the $14.4 billion GMV in total in 2015.
The e-commerce behemoth has smashed several of its own records this year, bringing in RMB 10 billion ($1.4 billion) in less than seven minutes in the self-invented shopping spree and breaking $5 billion before the first hour was up.
"For them to do a little over a billion dollars in the first five minutes, I think it really speaks to the investment they put in ahead of the actual 24 hour period to ramp up sales," said Christian Magoon, CEO of Amplify Investments, which tracks a global index of 42 companies that generate at least 70% of their revenue from online retail transactions and virtual sales.
While Alibaba refuses to disclose figures of their marketing spending on Singles' Day, there is no doubt that by inviting world-famous celebrities Kobe Bryant, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson to join its Singles' Day countdown gala, the company has spent millions of dollars to make online shopping a fun experience for eager consumers, according to Magoon.
What's particularly notable about this year's sales figure is that the $14.6 billion mobile GMV accounted for 82% of the total GMV, singling out mobile e-commerce as the main driver for China's online retail growth.
"Only 10% of China's total retail is online," said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in a video posted on the company's Singles' Day live blog. "Every form of retail in China is trying to find a digital transformation."