China’s love for shopping takes the cake. In just 24 hours, Chinese shoppers splurged a jaw-dropping record CNY35.01 billion ($5.7 billion) in the 11.11  Shopping Festival held by e-commerce giant Alibaba —  China’s answer to America’s Cyber Monday shopping bonanza.

The total sales amount from the event was up a whopping 83 percent from the previous year, with about 171.4 million orders placed on both Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao.

Last year the same event brought in $3.1 billion (CNY19.1 billion) in sales on the day, already smashing the record of Cyber Monday sales of $1.98 billion.

The shopping festival this year got off to a strong start — in less than nine hours, Chinese consumers already spent more money online than U.S. consumers did during all of Cyber Monday last year. In just slightly more than half a day, the amount of sales already surpassed last year’s total amount brought in for the 11.11 festival.

In a blog post, Alibaba revealed that about 21 percent of orders were being placed via mobile devices — up from a mere 5 percent a year earlier — an indication of how mobile is gaining importance among Chinese shoppers.

The company also unveiled some interesting nuggets of information that somewhat seem to hint at the Chinese’s love for underwear and baby necessities.

  • In the first hour of the sale, a total of 2 million pieces of underwear were sold.
  • By 10.30 am (local time), half a million cans of baby formula had been sold, enough to feed all of China’s two-month-old infants for two weeks.
  • Also by 10.30 am, 66 million diapers had been sold

Wildly popular Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi took the top spot in terms of gross merchandise value transacted over Alipay, and also accounted for the top four bestselling products of the day.

In a well-deserved brag, the company notes that “the results are all the more remarkable considering that the 11.11 promotion generated a mere RMB50 million ($8 million) in sales in its inaugural year of 2009″.

However, even with the hype over Alibaba’s amazing sales figures — it can’t be forgotten that the company still faces tough competition from other e-commerce platforms, one of them being Jingdong.

Gloria Li, Jingdong’s senior VP of Public Relations, says that Jingdong differentiates itself via its supply chain, which it controls.

What we believe is the most important factor that will drive Jingdong’s long term success — much more than one-day sales events — is superior customer experience…

For example, Jingdong delivers same day in 30 cities and next day in more than 150 cities across China by leveraging our self-operated delivery platform. These are key differentiators that a pure sales platform that doesn’t control its merchandise or delivery services cannot offer.

The rivalry can go on, but there’s no denying that the Chinese have a huge appetite for purchasing goods — and as Internet access becomes more widely available throughout the country, e-commerce is only set to grow further.

Alibaba, China’s largest retail platform for businesses and consumers, is expected to file a $15 billion IPO next year, which would value the company at more than $100 billion.

Headline image via Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images