Alibaba's Singles Day sales break $5 billion in an hour

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Alibaba's Singles' Day sales surged past last year's 91.2 billion yuan ($13.36 billion) total with nearly nine hours left on the clock, but growth was markedly slower than in 2015 as shoppers sought even bigger price cuts.

A billion dollars in sales in under five minutes, five billion in the first hour and more than 7 billion by 2AM.

Mega-bucks flooded in for Alibaba's Singles Day.

The biggest event on the global e-commerce calendar kicked off in China at the strike of midnight November 11th with massive sales that blew Black Friday and Cyber Monday out of the water.

See what goes into the creation of the global shopping festival:

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Alibaba's 11.11 global shopping festival
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Alibaba's 11.11 global shopping festival

Employees work extra hours to pack products at a factory during the 11.11 shopping festival, in Taicang, Jiangsu province, China, November 11, 2016.

(REUTERS/Stringer)

\General view of the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre which is decorated for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on November 6, 2016 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. Alibaba Group will hold a gala of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on the night before November 11 which is also called the Singles' Day.

(Photo by VCG via Getty)

Attendants celebrate in front of a screen displaying the total value of goods sold during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shenzhen, China, November 12, 2016.

(REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Quilts for Alibaba Group's employees to rest as they prepare for the upcoming 11.11 global shopping festival, also called Singles' Day shopping festival, are dried in a yard of Xixi campus of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China November 3, 2016.

(REUTERS/Stringe)

An employee sorts parcels at a logistic centre of ZTO Express during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival, in Beijing, China November 11, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jason Lee)

British former footballer David Beckham (3rd L), Alibaba chairman Jack Ma (4th L) and American retired basketball player Kobe Bryant (2nd L) pose for a photo during a dress rehearsal ahead of Gala of 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on November 09, 2016 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. Alibaba Group will hold a gala of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre tonight.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

People grab virtual red envelopes with their mobile phones during an augmented reality event held by Alibaba ahead of the 11.11 global shopping festival, at a shopping mall in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, November 6, 2016. Picture taken November 6, 2016.

(China Daily/via REUTERS)

An exhibitor demonstrates a face detection flight boarding system inside an exhibition venue during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shenzhen, China November 11, 2016.

(REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma and actress Scarlett Johansson attend Alibaba Group's 11.11 Global shopping festival opening, in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, November 10, 2016. Picture taken November 10, 2016.

(China Daily/via REUTERS)

Workers move parcels at a logistic centre of ZTO Express during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival, in Beijing, China November 11, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jason Lee)

Members of the media wear virtual reality headsets featuring the Tmall Cat, mascot for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall online marketplace, at Alibaba's annual November 11 Singles' Day online shopping event in Shenzhen, China, on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. Alibaba broke its $14 billion Singles' Day sales record with room to spare, offering assurances about the strength of the Chinese consumer despite the nation's economic slowdown.

(Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

American retired basketball player Kobe Bryant performs on the stage during a gala of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on November 10, 2016 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Boxes sit on display in a booth for Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s delivery affiliate, at Alibaba's annual November 11 Singles' Day online shopping event in Shenzhen, China, on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. Alibaba broke its $14 billion Singles' Day sales record with room to spare, offering assurances about the strength of the Chinese consumer despite the nation's economic slowdown.

(Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(L-R) Host Hua Shao, British fashion designer Victoria Beckham and British former footballer David Beckham stand on the stage during a gala of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on November 10, 2016 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Employees work at a logistic centre of ZTO Express during the Alibaba 11.11 global shopping festival, in Beijing, China November 11, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jason Lee)

A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 14, 2015.

(REUTERS/Stringer/File photo)

Alibaba staff dry quilts for company employees to rest in preparation for the upcoming 11.11 global shopping festival, also called Singles' Day shopping festival, in a yard of Xixi campus of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China November 3, 2016.

(REUTERS/Stringer)

Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang speaks in front of a screen displaying the total value of goods sold during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shenzhen, China, November 12, 2016.

(REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

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The 24-hour discount blitz is a major benchmark of Chinese online shopping.

As usual, Alibaba spared no expense on publicity, Kobe Bryant and David Beckham lined up next to CEO Jack Ma in the southern city of Shenzhen.

But disappointment for Katy Perry fans, the pop princess was meant to headline a kick-off concert for Singles Day. But she pulled out on Thursday, saying she had a family emergency and posted an apology in Chinese social media.

Early indications show more than 80 percent of Singles Day shopping is being done on smartphones.

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