eCommerce

Alibaba Founder: Singles’ Day Sales Fell Short

Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma

Jack Ma, one of the founders of Alibaba Group Holding, said Singles Day, which is China’s version of Cyber Monday, missed sales projections, according to a report by Reuters.

Singles Day was started in 2009 and many analysts in China use it to test consumer temperature in the country. It’s held on Nov. 11 and it’s sometimes called Double Eleven, due to the number of the date.

“This year’s Double Eleven did not meet the expectations I had imagined,” Ma said, noting that weather was a factor. “As soon as the weather gets cold, apparel starts to sell a bit better.”

Another reason it didn’t do well, he said, was because it fell on a Monday, which made it less likely for people to shop before going to work the next day.

“So we hope that for Double Eleven in the future the country will give everyone a half-day off,” he said.

Most of the company’s revenues come from advertisements, not sales.

Despite Ma’s comments, Alibaba broke sales records during the 24-hour shopping event.

The gross merchandise value (GMV), which shows Alibaba’s sales across all its eCommerce platforms, blew past 2018’s record of nearly $30.5 billion. Within 90 minutes, Alibaba’s GMV soared past $12 billion and exceeded the total reached on Singles Day in 2016.

This year, Alibaba offered more discounts and live-streamed on its site to boost spending. Live streaming with online personalities is a big part of the eCommerce shopping experience in China. 

On Nov. 6, for example, Kim Kardashian launched her new fragrance KKW during a live stream on Tmall.

Alibaba’s sales record happened amid a sluggish Chinese economy and increased eCommerce competition. Rivals JD.com and Pinduoduo also participated in the sales event, along with some eCommerce sites in Southeast Asia. JD.com started discounting ahead of the actual event. 

Jacob Cooke, chief executive officer of the eCommerce tech and marketing firm WPIC, said that all of the goods his company has managed are “way up over last year.” 

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