Singles Day sales for Alibaba exceeds $1bn in the first 8 minutes
Analysts at SunTrust have forecast this year’s Singles Day sales to jump by 30% to $12bn Reuters

Singles Day is celebrated in China every year on 11 November. Making use of this occasion, Alibaba conducts a massive Singles Day sales event and the company seems to be breaking all its previous sales records.

This year, the Chinese e-commerce giant exceeded sales of $1bn (£659m, €929m), within the first eight minutes since the event commenced. This is way faster than last year where the company took an hour to generate sales of $1.8bn. Its sales hit the $4.7bn-mark, 74 minutes into the sale and by 8am local time -- which marks eight hours of the event -- Chinese consumers had shopped for $6.56bn on its portals.

Sales for the Hangzhou-headquartered company during Singles Day in 2014 grossed just over $9bn and the company is on track to beat the figure this year. Analysts at SunTrust have forecast this year's Singles Day sales to jump by 30% to $12bn.

A majority of its sales were processed by Alipay, making it Alibaba's most resourceful sale on the mobile platform. The sales figures indicate the massive online shopping market in China. In comparison, last year's, Cyber Monday, which is US's largest online shopping event, generated over $2bn in sales from desktops during the entire day according to ComScore.

The sales Alibaba achieved on Wednesday (11 November) in 8 hours is more than what Americans bought on desktops during the entire five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year. It is also about $2bn more than what Netflix or Macy's generated in annual sales last year.

Alibaba's sales can be credited not only to its heavy advertising and promotion spends, but also to the vendors on its T-mall and Taobao e-commerce sites, who offer steep discounts on everything from diapers to mobile phones.

In the past seven years, since the sale was started, this is the first time that Alibaba began the event the night before, with a ceremony at the Beijing Water Cube that was televised on Hunan TV and streamed live on Youku Tudou. The ceremony featured appearances from Chinese celebrities and singers, along with Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey.

This year's Singles Day sale is critical for the Chinese company as it was under immense pressure from investors after its stock price declined by about 40% in the 12 months since its $21.8bn listing in New York last year.