Alibaba's Singles' Day sales hit new record, but growth slows

November 12, 2019 11:30
A screen displays the transaction volume of Alibaba’s Singles' Day shopping festival at the firm’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China early on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba Group saw sales during its 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping blitz on Monday hit a record US$38.4 billion, though the growth rate was slower compared to previous years.

The Chinese online retail giant announced that gross merchandise volume or GMV for the Nov. 11 event came in at 268.4 billion yuan, up 26 percent from last year, Reuters reports.

Though the headline figure marked a new record for the 24-hour shopping fest, the sales growth was the weakest since the event started in 2009, the report noted.

In 2018, Alibaba recorded 27 percent sales increase during Singles' Day.

Alibaba turned China’s informal Singles’ Day into a shopping event in 2009 and built it into the world’s biggest online sales fest, dwarfing Cyber Monday in the United States which took in US$7.9 billion last year.

The name is a play on the date, Nov. 11, rendered 11/11 - or Double Eleven, as the event is also known.

The event has since been replicated at home and abroad, with Singles’ Day promotions found at rivals such as China’s and Pinduoduo as well as South Korea’s 11thStreet and Singapore’s Qoo10.

Alibaba kicked off this year’s 24-hour shopping bonanza with a live performance by US pop star Taylor Swift followed by live-streamed marketing of over 1,000 brands.

The firm said 84 brands including those of Apple, L’Oreal SA and Uniqlo each made over 100 million yuan in sales in the first hour.

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