Employees sort parcels at a logistics center of ZTO Express in Fuyang, Anhui province, during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival in 2017. Photo: Reuters / Stringer

It seemed everyone was buying something at the Double 11 Festival, an annual online shopping event. The total number of parcels for the world’s biggest shopping day was 1.38 billion, or equivalent to the population of China, according to the mainland press.

The Double 11 Festival has been held annually since 2009 on the 11th day of the 11th month. It has been compared to America’s annual “Black Friday” shopping frenzy after every Thanksgiving Day.

This eighth edition of the event saw a 48% jump in transaction value to 254 billion yuan (US$38.1 billion) for all e-commerce operators, among which Alibaba Group’s Tmall sales broke 168.2 billion yuan.

This figure was 32% higher than JD.com, the second-largest e-commerce company in China, which reported a 50% sales surge to 127.1 billion yuan between November 1 and 11.

Handsets were the biggest sales item last weekend. The iPhone X, without much surprise, dominated the list, followed by Xiaomi and Huawei.

Down coats, woolen coats and sweaters were also hot items for the coming winter, followed by flat-screen televisions.

Guangdong topped all provinces with the best online sales, at 20.3 billion yuan. The top five cities in China that recorded the biggest single-day sales were Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hangzhou.

According to the urban consumption observer report by Tmall, Shanghai topped the list of provincial-level entities with the best sales of international goods. It also enjoyed the highest percentage of senior-citizen purchases.

Beijing people like to buy national costumes, while Guangzhou people like massage and beauty products. By contrast, Shenzhen people are tech-savvy, as their favorite items include electrical breast-enlargement instruments, followed by unmanned aerial vehicles and surfing gear.

One household product getting momentum was home exercise equipment, especially foldable equipment. The search volume for this category more than doubled.

Women still dominated males for online purchases, although their gap was narrowed to 60-40 in the top five provinces.

More interesting data will be unveiled next year, but meanwhile, keep shopping.

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