Single’s Day seems to be all about the numbers.
Alibaba’s annual global shopping festival on Nov. 11 kicked off at midnight China time on Monday. The Internet giant said the event, which was opened by Taylor Swift at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, saw gross merchandise value settled through Alipay hit 7 billion renminbi, or $1 billion, in the first minute and eight seconds. In the first hour, GVM settled through Alipay totaled 84 billion renminbi, or $12 billion.
While impressive, it’s hard to initially determine whether Single’s Day 2019 will maintain the momentum seen in past years. Alibaba did not provide comparable figures for 2018 — and last year, to boast of a record, it quoted 10 billion renminbi, or $1.4 billion, in the first two minutes and five seconds and 91.2 billion renminbi, or $13.1 billion, in the first hour and 16 minutes. Even though the time frames are different, the figures seem to indicate that Single’s Day might be losing some of its mojo.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that fewer Western brands could be taking part in this year’s Single’s Day given the ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. While last week the two sides appeared to be reaching some sort of compromise as the U.S. indicated it might delay implementing some tariffs, the situation grew further complicated on Friday when President Trump disputed that and said he still planned to go ahead with tariffs on many Chinese goods.