As was expected, Singles Day in China and elsewhere on Monday turned out to be the single most profitable day for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd so far this year.

The world's largest retailer and e-commerce firm reported a gross merchandise value (GMV) across all its platforms at the end of the 24-hour shopping frenzy of $38.3 billion (CNY268.4 billion). This preliminary figure was 24 percent higher than last year's take of $30.8 billion. GMV refers to the total value of goods sold by a company across all its platforms.

The 24 percent spike, however, was lower than the 27 percent jump recorded by Singles Day 2018 compared to 2017. Launched by Alibaba in 2009, Singles Day sees Alibaba offer huge discounts across its e-commerce sites such as Tmall, the Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail; and Taobao, the world's biggest e-commerce website.

Alibaba expanded the number of discounted items in this year’s event to boost sales, and heavily livestreamed the event via its platforms to sell goods faster. Singles Day 2019 also proved that the Chinese consumers’ infatuation with things American hasn't dimmed that much.

“There is no downturn there," said Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC, an e-commerce tech and marketing firm that helps foreign brands sell in China. "There is no evidence there is sentiment decline for U.S. brands."

Cooke said everything his company has managed is “way up over last year.” He noted that jewelry and apparel were the most popular product categories from American retailers.

The U.S. was the second country posting the highest GMV among countries selling to China. Some of the top-selling U.S. products early on Singles Day included Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Kim Kardashian announced her fragrance brand KKW will be available for sale on Tmall in a livestream.

The day got off to a strong start for Alibaba. GMV hit over $1 billion in the first minute of Singles Day and $13 billion in the first hour. After 90 minutes, Alibaba’s sales exceeded the total reached on Singles Day 2016.

Alibaba’s competitors, among them JD.com (a major Tmall competitor) and Pinduoduo (an e-commerce platform allowing users to participate in group buying deals), apparently also did well on 11.11 by offering discounts before the actual day.

Sales during China's Singles Day, or 11.11 or Double 11, are traditionally larger than the U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Alibaba began promoting Singles Day as another day for love in 2009.

U.S. market research company Forrester said total combined e-commerce sales by all U.S. platforms on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2018 hit $14.2 billion, which was just 46 percent of Alibaba's total alone.

For this year’s Singles Day, Forrester on Sunday forecast Alibaba will generate $37 billion in GMV, or a 20.5% jump compared to 2018. It also projects 50 million online buyers in Southeast Asia alone during Singles Day.

The U.S. Black Friday shopping frenzy this year will take place on Nov. 28 while Cyber Monday is scheduled for Dec. 2. US Grammy award-winning star Taylor Swift performed at a ceremony to mark the beginning of this year's Singles' Day US Grammy award-winning star Taylor Swift performed at a ceremony to mark the beginning of this year's Singles' Day Photo: AFP / STR