China’s Singles Day wraps up with Alibaba, reporting growth

Alibaba Group, China’s largest e-commerce player, said it recorded year-on-year growth during this year’s Singles’ Day sales period, which ended at midnight on Saturday , while his rival reported sales volumes at a record level.

Data provider Syntun, meanwhile, estimates that cumulative gross merchandising volume (GMV) sales across major e-commerce platforms increased 2.08 percent to 1.14 trillion yuan ($156.40 billion). dollars), compared to growth of 2.9% last year.

Originally a 24-hour online shopping event held on November 11 each year in China, the Singles’ Day festival – a nod to the date’s numerals – has expanded into weeks of promotions on leading e-commerce platforms in the country and in brick and mortar stores. mortar stores.

Expectations for sales growth from the festival, seen as a gauge of consumer confidence, have been muted this year as the economy struggles to recover.

Last year, as China emerged from COVID-19 restrictions, Alibaba, the country’s largest e-commerce player by market share, for the first time did not disclose the yuan value of its sales for the festival.

This year again, it simply stated, without giving details, that sales from its e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao were positive.

Alibaba pressured merchants to price aggressively on Singles’ Day and, at the start of the festival in late October, said it would offer 80 million products with the deepest discount of the year .

Analysts saw it as an attempt to fight back against competitors such as Douyin and PDD Holdings. Pinduoduo which have changed the Chinese e-commerce landscape in recent years by selling lower-cost and discounted items all year round.

As a result, reductions of 40-50% were much more common than in previous years.

A Bain and Company report released last week found that 77% of 3,000 consumers surveyed planned to spend less or the same amount on Singles’ Day compared to last year.

Bain said shoppers intended to spend on essentials such as tissues, hand wash, instant noodles and pet food, while selling down and buying less in discretionary or high-ticket categories such as appliances and furniture.

Several consultancies predict that GMV growth for Singles Day across all platforms could return to double-digit growth for the first time since the pandemic, but the final sales picture will take time to emerge.

GMV figures take into account the value of all orders placed and do not reflect the amount that will be returned later.

Analysts and industry executives expect return rates to be high this year as consumers buy more to get bigger discounts at checkout, only to return items they don’t have. no need.

Products related to health, wellness and outdoor lifestyles are expected to outperform, with global brands such as Nike and Lululemon should sell well.

Alibaba reported that sales of road bikes jumped 300% in the first hour of sale.

Color cosmetics, traditionally a strong performer throughout the Singles’ Day sales period, are expected to struggle this year as demand for makeup remains weak almost a year after China lifted strict restrictions on it to COVID-19.

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