With Alibaba breaking its previous Singles Day sales record less than 12 hours into the day, last week, it is clear that the special discounting event on the Asian retail calendar is gaining traction each year.

The largest online marketplace in China made 57.1 yuan (£5.91 billion) from sales on Singles Day in 2014 and it broke through this record 11 hours and 50 minutes into the event, on 11 November 2015. By the end of the day, it had surpassed £9 billion.

Payment processing provider Worldpay said that it processed, on average, over 9,000 transactions per minute globally during the 24-hour period. The total value of China Singles Day transactions made on cards in the UK grew 251% year on year, while the volume of transactions was up by 307%, highlighting increasing popularity in the western world.

Other statistics from Worldpay:

  • Worldpay transactions peaked at 1,111 transactions per second during the day's busiest sales period
  • The number of transactions Worldpay processed on Singles Day more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, rising 146%
  • The total value of Singles Day transactions rose 320% between 2014 and 2015.

Shane Happach, chief commercial officer for Global eCommerce at Worldpay, commented: "We've been tracking the rise of China Singles Day for a few years now, and it's incredible to see just how quickly the event has risen to prominence.

"Alibaba just revealed that Singles Day was the biggest eCommerce day in history, and our global transaction figures only reinforce just how relevant this event has become for online shoppers everywhere. It will be interesting to see how this year's Black Friday sales stack up, particularly with many major retailers announcing they're opting out."

Singles Day is viewed as the world's biggest online shopping event, and it occurs annually on 11 November – the choice of the date reflecting the four single digits (11/11).

It has grown over the last five years since Alibaba ramped up its marketing efforts around the day, while other Chinese retailers also offer deals and take part in the discounting frenzy.

You can see what else Worldpay has to say about the global retail market by visiting their stand at RBTE 2016, which takes place between 9-10 March 2016 at London's Olympia. Click here to register for your free pass.

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