Economy

Alibaba is slipping despite a record-setting Singles Day

Alibaba is slipping despite a record-setting Singles Day

Promoted by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which claimed more than a million retailers worldwide took part this year, including for the first time U.S. department store Macy's, each year on 11 November companies offer discounts on a range of products for a limited 24-hour period.

China is already the world's largest e-commerce market and the share of online shopping that makes up all consumer spending grows every year. At its peak, Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second across 225 countries and regions.

The outstanding results also reflect the upgrading of e-commerce itself to something known as "New Retail".

The concept was introduced by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma a year ago in a bid to "tap into the US$4.8 trillion retail sector in China by eliminating the distinction between online and offline commerce".

Everything about Singles Day is noteworthy, from the sales volume to the number of transactions that get processed on mobile payment platforms.

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"In terms of scale it just dwarfs any other event out there", said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.

Singles' Day is not such a big deal in Western Europe, but the originally Chinese celebration of the bachelor has turned into an awe-inspiring purchase spree. Boston Consulting Group forecasts online spending will rise by 20 per cent a year, hitting $1.6 trillion USA by 2020, compared with 6 per cent growth for off-line retail.

Revenue rose 37.9 percent to 83.8 billion yuan ($12.6 billion) in the quarter, also beating analysts' projection of 83.6 billion yuan.

Last year, the sales number rose by almost a third at the eighth iteration of the event - though that was slower than the 60 percent increase logged in 2015. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba wanted to use the "Bachelors" Day' to sell more stuff and "promoted it with his legendary brilliance", writes the prominent business journalist Hamish McRae in The Independent. The online shopper bought 168 billion yuan (22 billion euro) worth of products, thanks to Alibaba's discounts.

China has 750 million internet users, and 95% of them used a mobile device to access the internet in 2016, according to China's state-owned news agency Xinhua. In total, almost 1.5 billion transactions were registered and about 800 million packages will arrive at the customers' doorstep in the next few days and weeks.


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