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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day smashes previous records, clocks $38.37 billion in sales

The retail e-commerce giant with a networth of $486 billion has clocked a staggering amount in sales this year. Amidst a trade war with the US, American brands such as Apple, Nike and Estée Lauder included the list of brands that surpassed 100 mil...

, ET Online|
Updated: Nov 16, 2019, 04.29 PM IST
Over 200,000 brands took part in the mega extravaganza in 2019 which has metamorphosed into a closely watched global phenomenon over the years.
HANGZHOU: Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba’s annual Singles’ Day global shopping fest saw unprecedented numbers in sale figures, exceeding all its records from previous years by several notches. This year, it clocked $38 billion in GMV, up from the $30.8 billion it generated in 2018 and registering 1.292 billion in deliveries.

The event, which is in its 11th year in 2019 kicked off with numbers like total GMV surpassing $1 billion in 1 minutes and 8 seconds after midnight. The scale up continued in momentum through the day with the number of delivery orders exceeding 100 million by 8 am China Standard time, which is 59 minutes faster than the time when the same record was achieved in 2018.

The sales clocked a growth of about 24.57%, which is better than the 21% percent it clocked last year as sales went from $25.3 billion in 2017 to $30.8 billion in 2018.

The top 10 countries selling to China by GMV this year included Japan, US, Korea, Australia and Germany. Among the top 10 countries/regions buying from China by GMV include Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States. Among the top 10 exported brands from China, the lineup included brands such as Xiaomi, Midea, Haier and Mijia.

As per official data, the number of orders created at the peak of the 2019 11.11 Global Shopping Festival reached 544,000 orders/second, which is 1,360 times that of the first edition of the festival in 2009.

The top 10 categories of exported products from China by GMV included Pants, Dresses, Hoodies, Down Jackets and Wool Knitted Sweaters. The top 10 categories of imported products bought by Chinese consumers by GMV included Food Supplements, Facial Masks, Infant and Toddler Milk Powder, Makeup and Facial Beauty Tools.

Slowdown, what slowdown?
The sale numbers have been robust this year even as the Chinese economy faces a slowdown and the US-China trade looming in the background. However, insights into sale numbers reveal that this was far from reality. American brands such as Apple, Nike, Adidas and Estée Lauder included the list of brands that surpassed 100 million Yuan within one hour of the sale on Monday.

Fan Jiang, President of Taobao and Tmall said that Estée Lauder in the first hour of the sale already sold more than what they had sold in last year’s 11.11. “It was the first brand to sell more than 1 billion Yuan on the platform,” he said while talking to local and foreign media here.

The new sales record is also expected to help the company as it looks to raise as much as $15 billion in an IPO scheduled to take place in Hong Kong later this month.

What’s in a name
The globally known shopping fest takes off its name of Singles’ Day because of the date 11.11 which looks like ‘bare branches,’ a Chinese expression for the unattached. It has also been viewed as an antidote to Valentine’s Day with many singles spending lavishly and pampering themselves on this shopping festival.

Addressing the media, Chris Tung, CMO, Alibaba Group highlighted that their slogan is ‘Make 1T Happen’ this year. “In Chinese, the direct translation of this slogan is - your dream will come true, one by one,” he said.

Tung highlighted that one of the key learning on the younger consumers, popularly dubbed as ‘Generation Z’, has been that they are the driving engine of the booming consumption in China. “There is huge appetite today in the context of China for the brands to express themselves by offering consumers something really unique,” he added.

Call for action
This year, the focus of the festival is on ‘new consumption’, ‘new business’ and green action. Tung revealed that they will be creating 75,000 recycling stations nationally to recycle the cardboards to try and reduce the consumption of boards. “On November 20, we will be holding a major national recycling green day. We feel obligated because as the numbers go up, the GMV and the parcels go up as well. Last year the festival created 1 billion parcels. This year it will be more. So we have been focusing a lot this year on making double 11 greener.”

The event which began in 2009 with a total of $7.8 million in GMV had only 27 merchants participating back then. Over 200,000 brands took part in the mega extravaganza in 2019 which has metamorphosed into a closely watched global phenomenon over the years.

(The author is in Hangzhou on an official invitation from Alibaba.)

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