In 2009, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma single-handedly created the Singles Day sale by converting a fabricated holiday celebrated among lonely college students into what has become the biggest revenue-generator the world has ever known. By copyrighting the phrase “Double 11”—a play on November 11—and aggressively courting merchants, Ma’s gargantuan ecommerce company Alibaba manages to stay ahead of the competition and sell more merchandise in a 24-hour period than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Today, Alibaba controls around 80 percent of China’s ecommerce market and is giving global retail giants like Amazon a run for their money. To keep up with the stiff competition, Walmart plans to spend $2 billion over the next two years to improve its own ecommerce infrastructure.
When explaining the significance of Alibaba and Singles Day, I’m prone to pull out every synonym for “big” and “huge” I can think of. So instead, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
Here are 11 such numbers that help tell the story of Singles Day.