Date
12 December 2018
Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang delivers a speech in Shanghai during the e-commerce giant’s Singles’ Day global shopping festival on Nov. 11. Photo: Reuters
Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang delivers a speech in Shanghai during the e-commerce giant’s Singles’ Day global shopping festival on Nov. 11. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba Singles’ Day sales hit new record but growth rate slows

Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group reaped 213.5 billion yuan (US$30.7 billion) in sales during Singles’ Day on Sunday, notching a new record for the 24-hour shopping festival.

Compared to previous years, the sales growth rate, however, fell sharply for the event, Reuters reports.

In the first hour after midnight after the event began, Alibaba recorded roughly US$10 billion in sales as shoppers in China and across the world snapped up hot items including iPhones and furniture.

In just under sixteen hours, the company surpassed last year’s full-day sales record of 168 billion yuan, before ending the day with a final tally of almost 214 billion yuan. 

Singles’ Day, also called “Double 11″ is the world’s biggest online sales event, outstripping the sales of US shopping holidays Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Despite the record haul, Alibaba’s annual sales growth rate in the “Double 11″ event fell from 39 percent to 27 percent, marking the smallest rate in the event’s 10-year history, according to the report.

It comes as the company is grappling with a slimmer sales outlook amid rising trade tensions the US that have taken a bite out of China’s economy.

While small appliances and cosmetics were strong on Sunday, sales in big-ticket items including large appliances slowed alongside a downturn in the housing market, Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai told the media.

“If people aren’t buying new homes, they aren’t buying appliances,” he said.

Despite the milder growth, executives were upbeat on Sunday at a press event in Shanghai, attended by roughly 800 journalists who watched a live-streamed ticker of the sales.

“Today we reached 200 billion (yuan). But we have to change. We have to continue to change to reach 300 billion or 500 billion,” said CEO Daniel Zhang, who is credited with being the architect of the original Singles’ Day sales.

Alibaba kicked off this year’s sales with a gala event that featured US singer Mariah Carey and a Cirque du Soleil performance.

During this year’s event the company said it worked with 180,000 brands. It claimed to have sent over a billion packages shortly before midnight on Sunday.

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RC

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