In the West, November 11th isn’t much of a holiday, although it may soon be celebrated among gamers as the day that Skyrim was released. But in China, the day is a celebration of singledom, the anti-Valentine’s day, chosen because the date is 11/11. This year, Alibaba’s Tmall and some other online retailers have planned pretty significant sales for today, and it seems pretty clear that Chinese customers have taken notice.
We’ve heard from the folks at Alibaba that in just the first hour of the sale, Tmall has taken in 439,000,000 RMB (about $68 million). Moreover, this was the hour between 12:00 and 1:00 AM, meaning that it was only the nighthawks who were up late making their sale-priced purchases.
[UPDATE: The sales day ended, says an Alibaba representative, with Tmall and its sister site, Taobao, totalling $830 million in sales transactions].
There were apparently plenty of people staying up late, as Alibaba says that 3.4 million users accessed the online store within the first minute of the sale. Sales broke 100 million RMB within eight minutes, and then 200 million within the next 13 minutes. 11 minutes after that, they’d broken 300 million.
The sale got so much attention because many items within Tmall are half off, and as if that weren’t crazy enough, they’re also giving away money, in the form of 30 million RMB in coupons. Sadly, the big discounts only seem to apply to items like clothing — if you were hoping to find a half-off Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, you’re out of luck.
Last year, Tmall held a similar sale, and did over 900 million RMB in sales over the course of the day. If their one-hour numbers are any indication, they look set to shatter that number this year, even with 360buy.com running a similarly crazy sale. We’re not sure how that one’s going, but we’ll try to get in touch with the folks at 360buy to see how their numbers stack to to the competition!