Sat, 17 Nov 2018

Shopping festival in China breaks $25 billion record

By Sheetal Sukhija, China News
12 Nov 2017, 10:57 GMT+10

SHANGHAI, China - China’s eCommerce giant, Alibaba said that it had broken its own record from last year, registering $25.4 billion on Saturday with sales on its Singles’ Day.  

Alibaba said that its sales record managed to cement Singles’ Day as the world’s biggest shopping event.

Singles Day, which was originally aimed at celebrating the country’s young singletons, was turned into a shopping bonanza in 2009 by Alibaba.

Now, other retailers have also started to piggyback off the idea that extends to even Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The annual 24-hour buying frenzy exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.

By midnight Saturday, Alibaba’s live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan, up 39 percent from 120.7 billion yuan last year. 

Due to the strength of the yuan against the greenback this year, the dollar figure was up more steeply.

As the day began, several pre-orders helped drive a billion dollars of sales on Alibaba’s platforms in the first two minutes and $10 billion in just over an hour.

Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group said, “In terms of scale it just dwarfs any other event out there.”

As the day reached the halfway mark, the headline gross merchandise volume swept past last year’s dollar total close to $18 billion. 

Shortly afterwards, reports noted that the sales surpassed the 2016 total in the local currency.

Joseph Tsai, Alibaba’s co-founder and vice chairman, said, “This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy. On Singles’ Day, shopping is a sport, it’s entertainment.”

Tsai added that rising disposable incomes of China’s “over 300 million middle-class consumers” was helping drive the company’s online sales - and would continue. 

He added, “This powerful group is propelling the consumption of China.”

Experts noted that the final total was more than the GDP of Iceland or Cameroon and leaves other shopping days in the shade. 

According to some retails, however, the excitement around the shopping extravaganza, masks the challenges facing China’s online retailers such as Alibaba and Inc.

Matthew Crabbe, Asia Pacific research director at Mintel said, “A lot of the lower hanging fruit has been picked and there’s increased competition for a share of consumer spending.”

However, the sale did beat his forecast of 20 percent growth.

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