Fri, 24 May 2019

Alibaba revels in another record-shattering 'Singles Day'

By Sheetal Sukhija, Kuala Lumpur News
13 Nov 2018, 14:53 GMT+10

SHENZHEN,China - What started as a non-festive celebration to mock Valentines Day in China has become the worlds biggest 24-hour shopping event in recent years.

Even though several retailers and online firms mark the 24-hour event - Singles Day has largely been dominated by the country's eCommerce giant - Alibaba over the last decade.

At a time when China is locked in an intense and economically damaging trade battle with its chief global competitor and the world's largest economy - the U.S., analysts were closely watching the Singles Day performance this year - since the event has become an important indicator of the state of China's economy.

The shopping event mimics America's annual retail extravaganza - the 'Black Friday' event which is held late in November.

Alibaba, which usually makes a grand show to mark one of its biggest retail days of the year, managed to shatter its own record, defying the market uncertainty in the country.

On Sunday, Alibaba witnessed a record $30.7 billion in orders as the company hosted a myriad of offers for its annual 'Singles Day' shopping frenzy.

Last year, during the Singles Day sales extravaganza, Alibaba sales hit $25.4 billion - and while the company recorded a whopping $30.7 billion in orders this year - growth was seen to have slowed down from previous years.

Alibaba's promotions and discounts were snapped up by scores of shoppers that were waiting to get good deals on everything from electronics to clothing and houseware.

Figures posted online by Alibaba Group showed that exactly 2 minutes and 5 seconds after midnight on Saturday, the company had recorded purchases worth $1.43 billion (10 billion yuan).

It noted that by the 1 hour and 47-minute mark, its sales had grown tenfold.

Sales reached $24.2 billion (168.2 billion yuan) just before 4 pm on Sunday - a milestone as the company managed to easily surpass the total purchases from last years Singles Day.

However, the company and analysts across the world made two important observations at the end of the event - Alibaba's sales rose 27 percent this year, compared with 39 percent it recorded last year and that the company share price was down 16 percent this year, while it doubled in 2017.

Some analysts predicted a drop in Singles Day growth for the company after Alibaba lowered its full-year revenue forecast slightly earlier this month.

At the time, the company cited consumer uncertainty over the economic outlook.

For years now, the Chinese event has managed to easily eclipse Cyber Monday in the U.S. for online purchases made on a single day.

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