Internet giant Alibaba’s annual Single’s Day sale set new records on Sunday, clocking up a massive US$1 billion ($1.4 billion) worth of sales in its first 85 seconds.
The Chinese company ended the first hour just short US$10 billion ($14 billion) in sales as shoppers went on to splurge US$30.8 billion ($42.7 billion) on the 24-hour sale.
The overall take was 27 per cent up on last year, but the lowest annual increase in the history of Single’s Day.
The spending binge on items included iPhones, furniture and even milk powder.
Alibaba’s has offered big online discounts on November 11 since 2009 to mark the informal holiday, billed as the antitheses of Valentine’s day.
Other companies have since followed suit and in 2015, Singles’ Day surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, two of the largest shopping days in the US.
Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said the continued rise in spending illustrated “customers’ continued pursuit to upgrade their everyday lifestyles”.
The 2019 Single’s Day event was kicked off with an entertainment gala at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena featuring singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyoncé impersonator and a performance from Cirque du Soleil.
In the lead-up this year’s event, there were concerns that Alibaba and other Chinese e-commerce sites like JD.com, which runs a similar sale, might be hit hard by new tariffs on US goods.
But the spurge appeared to indicate the trade dispute had done little to dent domestic consumption.
Washington has imposed tariffs on $US250 million ($346 million) worth of Chinese goods since the trade war began in July, while Beijing has imposed tariffs on $US110 million ($152 million) of US goods in retaliation.