Singles’ Day boost for Alibaba
CHINESE shoppers unleashed a record deluge of cash online for Singles Day, Alibaba said, spending almost US$18 billion with the e-commerce giant in the world’s biggest online shopping promotion.
Singles’ Day – named for the repeated digit 1 in the date November 11 – was created by Alibaba in 2009.
Now in just 24 hours it surpassed the main US online spending spree, the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.
Gross merchandise volume, Alibaba’s key measure of online sales, was 120.7 billion yuan ($17.8 billion) this year – up from 91.2 billion yuan in 2015.
Consumers spent more than $1 billion in the first five minutes of the sales, the firm said.
Rival e-commerce giant JD.com, which focuses more on electronics, said its sales total – which it did not specify – surpassed last year’s figure soon after noon.
Some shoppers stayed up until midnight to purchase discounted goods the moment Singles Day got under way.
In the US, total online sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday last year stood at $11.1 billion, according to Adobe Digital Index.
Alibaba’s New York-listed stock has been buoyant this year in spite of worries over slowing growth in China, as consumer spending has expanded while the old industrial economy struggles due to overcapacity and sluggish demand.
Analysts said the event, which has gained more and more traction in the past few years, is key to Alibaba.
The day’s turnover was only “a very small fraction of its total annual sales”, independent e-commerce analyst Li Chengdong said, but was “a confidence index for the firm”.
“If they do well in this, it is a boost to investors’ confidence,” he told AFP.
But sales growth may not match last year’s 60 percent rise, he warned, in the face of economic worries and stricter regulation.
China’s commerce watchdog SAIC summoned Alibaba and 14 other ecommerce companies earlier this week, banning them from making up fake orders and lifting prices before giving out discounts.
Alibaba itself has sought to downplay the importance of the turnover statistic. –