How Alibaba Made Billions From 'Singles Day'

"Singles Day" proves more lucrative than Black Friday.

— -- The mega e-commerce company Alibaba is topping $9 billion in sales on a made-up shopping holiday today.

Alibaba, which went public in the world's biggest IPO in September, is credited with re-inventing the holiday in 2009 after it existed for about two decades. The company offers discounts on the myriad of goods on its shopping sites, leading to $9.3 billion sales in 24 hours, a record.

Alibaba’s Singles Day sales have grown 5,740 percent from 2009 to 2013, according to MarketWatch.

Alibaba's retail marketplaces comprised 81.6 percent of the firm's revenue in its fiscal 2014 year, which ended in March.

"In our society, there is some pressure to not be single, but this day celebrates that 'relationship status' in a tongue-in-cheek way," said Kinshuk Jerath, associate professor of business at Columbia Business School.

Can "Singles Day" spread to the U.S. and follow the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

American consumers spent $2.9 billion online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, according to ComScore.

It would be difficult for Singles Day to become a major shopping holiday in the U.S., said R. J. Hottovy, consumer equity strategist with Morningstar. He cites the close proximity to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, when consumers are already allocating a large percentage of their household budgets to gifts and travel.

"Since we've seen retailers--both bricks-and-mortar and online--try to start the holiday shopping season earlier and earlier, it's possible that Singles Day could become part of the U.S. holiday shopping season, but I think it's unlikely that it becomes as significant as it is in China," he said.

Kinshuk disagrees.