Retail

Alibaba Sets $30.8B Singles Day Sales Record

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Alibaba has set a new Singles Day sales record, generating more than $30.8 billion during the 24-hour shopping event.

In Chinese currency, gross merchandise value (GMV) totaled 213.5 billion yuan, beating last year’s figure of 168.2 billion yuan — a nearly 27 percent year-on-year rise. However, it was smaller than the 39 percent year-on-year growth in 2017, according to CNBC.

This year marked the 10th annual Singles Day event, which is also called the Double 11 shopping festival because it falls on Nov. 11. The Chinese eCommerce retailer had been billing this year’s occasion as “the largest-ever in terms of scale and reach.”

In a press release, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang noted that “the Festival’s astounding growth over the past decade has powered the steady growth of quality consumption sought by Chinese shoppers.”

Alibaba’s shopping event had humble beginnings, however: the company took in only $7.8 million in sales on the first event in 2009. Since then, the company said, the number of internet users in China has grown to 802 million. And the company reported that nearly all of those users — 98 percent — are on mobile. This year, the eCommerce retailer plans to kick off the event by offering a half a million items for preorder through Tmall. In addition, the company plans to offer coupons through Mobile Tmall and Mobile Taobao.

This year’s event also had new offerings. Lazada, a Singapore-based eCommerce site that has operations across Southeast Asia and is majority-owned by Alibaba, hosted its own sales. And Ele.me, Alibaba’s food delivery platform, provided delivery for select Starbucks stores across 11 Chinese cities.

In addition, 150,000 merchant partners of Koubei, a “life search engine” that is a sub-organization of Alibaba, was expected to draw in users through “half-price discounts” on offerings such as karaoke bars and hair salons. And, in a further expansion into the world of offline retail, Alibaba’s Hema supermarket will “designate 11.11 signature stores featuring a number of promotions.”

“When we talk about new retail, we strongly believe that online commercial world and offline brick mortars are not separate worlds. And if you look at the customer base today, everyone is living in the internet. Everybody is the internet user. You have the same customer base. You must have the same commercial world. It’s all about how to innovate online and offline to a whole digitalized commercial world,” Zhang told CNBC.

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