Date
25 July 2017
Of the total value of transactions, 68 percent was through orders from mobile devices. Photo: Reuters
Of the total value of transactions, 68 percent was through orders from mobile devices. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales surge 60 percent to US$14.3 bln

Transactions during the Singles’ Day shopping festival on Wednesday reached 91.2 billion yuan (US$14.32 billion), up 60 percent from last year,  Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said.

Of the total value of transactions, 68 percent was through orders from mobile devices, the e-commerce giant said, adding that the results were preliminary and unaudited.

Reuters said the numbers got a boost this year from adding the sales from various new channels, including Alibaba’s affiliates and investees.

Six years ago, Alibaba turned Nov. 11 into China’s equivalent of United States shopping event Cyber Monday.

It has now become larger than both Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined, and a closely watched barometer of the company’s performance.

“Alibaba is positioned as the number one player in the Chinese e-commerce market, so it has to be seen to be maintaining, or gaining ground really,” said Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA.

Singles’ Day was originally a mock celebration in China for people not in relationships.

But Alibaba in 2009 co-opted the event into a consumption fest for all, featuring steep discounts and other promotions aimed at attracting droves of customers online.

Alibaba’s sales data have been closely watched as a gauge of Chinese consumption as economic growth slows.

One of the new sales channel pumping Singles’ Day sales was Suning Commerce Group Co. Ltd., in which Alibaba bought a 20 percent stake in August.

Suning’s in-store sales will count toward Alibaba’s total gross merchandise volume, as long as they go through final processing online, an Alibaba spokesman said.

Alibaba has stressed its focus on international e-commerce this Singles’ Day.

“Within the next five years, we expect China will become the world’s largest e-commerce market for imported products,” president Michael Evans told reporters on Wednesday.

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RA/CG

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