Alibaba Group Holding Co. reported results on Friday (May 22) that showed continued pivots to online commerce and mobile shopping, amid lockdowns that have shuttered brick-and-mortar retailers.
The company said that its gross merchandise volume (GMV) passed a milestone level of $1 trillion. In terms of headline numbers, the company’s adjusted earnings per share were $1.30, which topped the Street’s consensus of 86 cents. Sales likewise rose 22 percent to $16.1 billion, which outpaced Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $15.2 billion.
Drilling down into the data, the company reported that its total annual active consumer tally hit 960 million worldwide. Of that, average annual consumers in China totaled 780 million, up 72 million from a year ago. Of the China total, 726 million users were tied to Chinese retail marketplaces like Taobao and Tmall.
CEO Daniel Zhang told analysts during the earnings call that online shopping has become a habit for consumers – and that for businesses, offering online services “is no longer an option, but a necessity.” In reflection of that shift, the company said daily active merchants on Taobao Live rose 88 percent year on year as measured in March.
As for what consumers are buying, Tmall’s online physical goods as measured in GMV rose 10 percent year over year, where consumption of fast-moving consumer goods buoyed growth. For example, electronics GMV grew by 25 percent.
Customers were also focused on buying daily necessities and household goods. Conversely, management reported sales declines in other major categories such as apparel and accessories, home furnishings and auto parts.
In the grocery category, Freshippo’s revenue showed “strong growth in February and March” amid lockdowns, driven by an increased number of online customers, higher purchase frequency and larger order size, the company said in a statement. Online purchases represented approximately 60 percent of Freshippo’s GMV, up 10 percentage points year over year.
Management also said on the earnings call that the period saw 846 million mobile monthly active users, a net addition of 125 million year over year.
Looking with some granularity into the revenue lines, the core commerce top line was up 19 percent to $13.3 billion, while cloud computing gained 58 percent year over year to $1.7 billion. Digital media likewise grew 5 percent to $840 million, boosted by subscription sales tied to video hosting service Youku.
Management also said on the call that more than 70 percent of new annual active customers came from China’s less developed areas.