Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. registered record sales on its biggest shopping day, the annual Single’s Day, on Sunday generating RMB 213.5 billion (US $30.8 billion) of gross merchandise volume (GMV), an increase of 27 per cent compared to last year.
People from over 230 countries and regions flocked Alibaba’s online portals, helping it surpass the 100 billion yuan mark in less than two hours. Alibaba owned logistic enterprise Cainiao Network alone processed more than 1 billion delivery orders.
Daniel Zhang, the CEO of Alibaba Group, said, “Today we witnessed the strength and rise of China’s consumption economy and consumers’ continued pursuit to upgrade their everyday lifestyles.”
“Participation from the entire Alibaba ecosystem enabled our brand and merchant partners to engage with consumers like never before. Looking ahead, Alibaba will continue to lead the evolution towards the future digital economy and lifestyle,” he added.
With more than 180,000 participating brands, 237 of them exceeded RMB 100 million in GMV, including leading international brands Apple, Dyson, Kindle, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Nestlé, Gap, Nike and Adidas. Over 40 per cent of consumers made purchases from international brands.
The top countries selling to China were Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia and Germany, with the most popular items purchased overseas being dresses, woollen coats, pants and hoodies, Bloomberg reported.
What is Single’s Day?
Started in 2009, November 11 or 11.11 is celebrated as an antithesis to the concept of Valentine’s Day and is very popular among college students. The day, when written in numerical 11/11, resembles “bare branches”, a Chinese expression for the ‘unattached’.
The concept of Single’s Day was developed by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and Zhang, who came up with the idea of turning this counter festive day into a merrymaking shopfest culture years ago. Jack Ma was inspired by the American Black Friday tradition of mega discounts. The day encourages the ‘unattached’ to treat themselves by eating and shopping.
The record sales came despite the threat of trade war with the US looming over the Chinese stock market. Though the sales chart show high bars against Chinese shoppers, Alibaba Group has been trying to expand its Single’s Day tradition to other regions. Its Singapore owned entity Lazada too participated in 11.11 this year, helping the Chinese giant to find its base in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)