China’s online retail giant Alibaba says it has seen nearly $7bn (£4.4bn) of sales so far from its annual ‘Singles’ Day’ shopping event.
Seventeen hours in, the firm said sales had already hit $6.96bn, with industry analysts predicting that sales could surpass $8bn this year.
Last year, Alibaba recorded sales of $5.75bn and shipped more than 150 million packages.
Singles’ Day is considered the world’s biggest online retail sales day.
It compares with “Cyber Monday” in the US, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is also marketed as a big online shopping day.
Alibaba said it expected to break sales records during the annual event, offering big discounts to boost sales.
“I bet the number [of goods bought] is going to be scary,” said Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma last week. He estimated that 200 million packages would be shipped from orders made during the day.
The company says it sold $2bn (£1.2bn) of goods in the first hour.