No, it’s not Christmas.

The most profitable time of year for retailers is the Global Shopping Festival, which has just wrapped up, raking in $103.2 billion.

The online shopping extravaganza has ballooned into the biggest shopping period of the year, eclipsing the likes of Amazon Prime Day ($14.3b), Black Friday ($7.4b) and Cyber Monday $12.9b) sales combined.

The ecommerce festival, which ran from 1 November to 11 November, was begun by Chinese retailer Alibaba as a ‘Singles Day’ event held annually on 11 November, named as such because of the ‘single’ numbers in the 11/11 date.

In total, sales were up 26 per cent from last year. More than 95 per cent of sales were made on a mobile device.

At its peak, the sale was registering 583,000 orders per second, and the AI customer chatbot responded to more than 2.1 billion queries during the 11-day period.

This is the 12th online sale event from Alibaba, which began with just 29 brands taking part. This year’s shopping festival featured 250,000 brands, of which 31,000 were outside of China. Of the outside brands, 2,600 were joining in for the first time.

Australia at work

Much-coveted Australian brands were ready to cash in on retail’s biggest event, with the likes of Natio, Swisse, Nuchev, Bubs, Brauer Natural Medicine, Blackmores, Life-Space, Mecca, and Kora Organics taking part.

Alibaba Australia managing director Maggie Zhou said 2020 had thrown unprecedented challenges to local businesses.

“We have seen remarkable resilience from Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

Of the many countries selling goods into China, Japan sold the most according to gross merchandise volume. Australia was in fourth place behind the United States and Korea.

Ben Dingle, founder and MD of goat milk product company Nuchev said this was the company’s largest promotion period of the year.

“You must be part of this festival to make it into China,” he said.