The 11th annual Singles Day has made Black Friday and Cyber Monday look quaint. CNBC reports the world's largest 24-hour shopping event took place Monday, and for Alibaba, it broke an e-commerce record, surpassing last year's record of almost $30.5 billion before the day was even through. CNN notes it took just 16.5 hours to go over that mark, with TechCrunch reporting the day's final tally was $38.4 billion. Last year's Black Friday take was $25 billion. One wild fact: Alibaba said the first billion in sales happened in 68 seconds. The shopping fest—also known as the Double 11 for the date on which it takes place, Nov. 11—is described by CNN as "an informal, anti-Valentine's Day holiday in China celebrating people who aren't in relationships."
Alibaba's efforts to increase sales this year included more discounted items and lots of livestreaming, including a promo by Kim Kardashian to launch her KKW fragrance brand. Smartphones, including Apple's iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, were among the day's biggest early sellers. The record-breaking sales day came despite a sluggish economy in China, competition from other domestic e-commerce giants, and the trade war with the US. In fact, an e-commerce marketing analyst tells CNBC American brands sold just fine, with jewelry and clothing being the top consumer picks. "There is no downturn," WPIC's Jacob Cooke says. "There is no evidence there is sentiment decline for US brands." (Read more Alibaba stories.)