E-commerce giant Alibaba has said that Chinese and international consumers spent more than 91.2 billion yuan (US $14 billion) on November 11, 2015 in the world’s biggest online shopping day. The phenomenal figure dwarfs everything from some multinationals’ annual revenues to even the GDPs of some countries. In comparison, sales on Cyber Monday, which is the biggest online shopping day in the US, were only $ 1.35 billion, according to internet data analytics firm ComScore.
November 11, which is celebrated as “Singles’ Day” in China, has evolved into the globe’s biggest online shopping festival since Alibaba began using the date in 2009 to promote sales through its platforms. This year’s figure has broken last year’s record of US $9.3 billion. “This day demonstrates the power of domestic China consumption and the Chinese consumer’s strong demand for international products,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement.
A statement from Alibaba said that its online payment unit, Alipay, processed 710 million transactions during the shopping festival, peaking at almost 86,000 per second. The number of buyers using mobile devices – a key priority for Alibaba – reached 95 million through Taobao and Tmall, it said, without giving a figure for total buyers.
On the face of it, the figures seem encouraging in the background of China’s worst economic performance since the global financial crisis in the third quarter, with the economy growing at just 6.9 per cent. However, experts warn not to read too much into one day’s sales figures. Many shoppers are well aware the economy is slowing and consumption continues to fall in China – a long-term trend that Singles’ Day won’t fix.
Singles’ Day has been celebrated at various universities in China since 1993. It got the name “Singles’ Day” because the date (11/11) consists of four “one”s. The day serves as an occasion for single people to party with single friends. The date has now become a great opportunity for companies targeting younger consumers with various offers.