Alibaba (BABA) 's Singles' Day made another mark on the global shopping calendar this year, racking up $17.8 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) during the 24-hour shopping bonanza where consumer staples including clothes, home appliances and electronics to surprises like automobiles and cruises were sold on its core e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall on Nov. 11.
The world's biggest online shopping event drew to a close last Friday, reporting a jump over 32 percent compared to RMB 91.2 billion ($14.3 billion) in 2015 and a whopping 60 percent increase compared to the $9.3 billion GMV in 2014.
To put these numbers into perspective, American consumers spent $3.12 billion on Cyber Monday last year, a 21-percent annual gain versus $2.59 billion spent on Cyber Monday 2014, according to global media measurement and analytics company comScore.
Post-Singles' Day, Wall Street analysts scrambled to reiterate their "buy" ratings on the Alibaba stock, highlighting positives including the company's mobile transaction growth and its cross border selling increase. Some went as far as to say that another successful Singles' Day showed the power that Alibaba has to provide in-roads for U.S. companies to the world's second largest economy.
"We believe the company should continue to serve as an indispensable gateway for U.S. brands and retailers to reach Chinese customers," said Kerry Rice, analyst from Needham & Co. "In our opinion, Alibaba's channel to the China market represents significant export opportunities for U.S. companies and is unlikely to be disrupted even with more adverse import environment."
Youssef Squali, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald wrote in a research note Monday that the final tally for Alibaba's Singles' Day could be seen as an early positive read into its Dec. quarter results and the resiliency in the Chinese consumer.
"The event also highlighted BABA's focus on Branding and showcased the company's ability to leverage media and technology assets to drive greater customer engagement with the platform, solidifying its position as the e-commerce leader in China," wrote Squali.
Best-selling U.S. brands by GMV during Singles' Day included Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple (AAPL) , sport retailers Nike (NKE) and New Balance, Playboy and Skechers (SKX) . L Brands' (LB) Victoria's Secret and Gap (GPS) also participated in the massive sale, according to Alibaba.
The record-breaking figure seems to have restored and strengthened confidence in the healthy growth of Chinese consumer spending despite concerns over a gradually slowing Chinese economy.
"This data sends a clear message to retailers that Chinese shoppers' appetite for major events like this remains strong. Our own recent research has found that Chinese consumers are beginning to shed their credit wariness, and challenge the US in terms of spending power, which is helping to fuel the Singles Day shopping frenzy and love for shopping," said John O'Brien, vice president of business development at Worldpay, a global payment processing company that provides services for internet retailers.
While Alibaba handed in another impressive GMV record, some analysts believe that the year-over-year growth rate of 32 percent in 2016 compared to the 60 percent in 2015 demonstrates that the e-commerce giant cannot keep up with this exponential growth. The company recently stopped reporting GMV numbers in its quarterly reports.
"It doesn't represent our true identity, and overemphasizing it makes people just think about e-commerce," said Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, at the Singles' Day countdown gala hosted on Nov. 10.
Ma's words are indicative of Alibaba's ever-expanding ecosystem which has come to include entertainment, financials, logistics and cloud computing technology besides its core e-commerce platforms. Experts believe that the company's use of virtual reality, augmented reality and digital media has been able to lure digital savvy consumers to spend on mobile platforms, which account for 82% of its total GMV this year.
"This year's 11.11 is a preview of the future of retail, where entertainment, commerce and interactive engagement intersect seamlessly," said Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group.
As the Singles' Day GMV is expected to overshadow the combined sales figure of this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday once again, its success could also teach American retailers a thing or two.
"I think it's getting more competitive in online retail globally, U.S. and China specifically, so you have to find an edge which might be creating your own event or trying to transform an existing holiday into a shopping event, " said Christian Magoon, CEO of Amplify Investments, a company that tracks a global index of 42 companies that generate at least 70% of their revenue from online retail transactions and virtual sales.
"I can't imagine Singles' Day is going unnoticed by online retailers all over the world especially those outside of China trying to figure out how to replicate it. Even if you replicate it to a 10 percent, that's still over a billion dollars of sales you could generate on a given day," said Magoon.