Alibaba record $30B Single's Day haul, but growth rate drops

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding collected a record $30.7 billion in sales on Sunday during its 24-hour online retail frenzy Singles' Day, but the event's annual growth dropped to its slowest rate.

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Shoppers in China and across the world snapped up hot items including iPhones, furniture and milk powder starting pre-dawn, with Alibaba recording roughly $10 billion in sales in the first hour after midnight, according to Reuters.

Singles' Day is the world's biggest online sales event, outstripping the sales of U.S. shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

The Chinese event was originally an event to celebrate being single, countering Valentines Day.

It has since grown into a month-long online shopping festival that peaks with a 24-hour sale on November 11.

In sixteen hours,  the company surpassed last year's full-day sales record of 168 billion yuan.

Despite the record haul, the annual sales growth rate fell from 39 percent to 27 percent, the slowest rate in the event's 10-year history.

This year‘s event comes as the company is grappling with a weaker sales outlook amid rising trade tensions between China and the United States that have taken a bite out of China's economy.

Earlier this month it revised down its full-year sales outlook by 4-6 percent.

While small appliances and cosmetics were strong on Sunday, sales in big-ticket items including large appliances slowed alongside a downturn in the housing market, Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai told press.

Alibaba kicked off this year's sales with a gala event that featured U.S. singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyonce impersonator and a Cirque du Soleil performance.

It's expected to be the company's final November sale with founder and Chairman Jack Ma at the helm, with Zhang set to take over as chairman next year, the company said in September.