Record online sales posted by JD.com and Alibaba weren’t enough to buoy a sluggish Singles Day in China, the world’s biggest multi-day shopping extravaganza that typically brings in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Singles Day, also known as Double 11 and originally called Bachelors’ Day, was started by Alibaba in 2009 as a day to celebrate singlehood. The shopping festival has since blurred demographic lines and moved from a one-day event to 11 days, according to multiple media reports.
While Alibaba and JD.com posted an estimated $139 billion in Singles Day sales, overall growth for merchants was in the single digits, whereas the past decade saw double-digit gains, Reuters reported.
“The magic of Double 11 is fading,” Sharry Wu, Greater China consulting business transformation leader at consulting firm EY, told Reuters.
The weaker results are being blamed on a combination of issues — China’s continuing crackdown on big tech and associated tightening of regulations, supply chain snags reducing inventory, and consumers’ concerns about economic instability.
“This 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, we delivered steady and quality growth that is a reflection of the dynamic Chinese consumption economy,” Yang Guang, vice president at Alibaba, said in a press release.
“We also leveraged the power of 11.11 as a platform to fulfill our social responsibility. This year’s festival was a meaningful milestone as part of our commitment towards building a sustainable future,” Guang said.
A record 290,000 brands and 900 million consumers participated in the event this year and 78 businesses saw their GMV grow over 10 times more than last year. Over 2,000 retailers were featured in a dedicated space with 500,000 products available for sale that boasted an official Green Product Certification, according to the release.