Alibaba smashes its Singles’ Day shopping record

Chinese firm racks up over €16bn in sales during 24-hour e-commerce event

An employee carries bracelets displaying the logo of Alibaba’s November 11th Singles’ Day online shopping event. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

An employee carries bracelets displaying the logo of Alibaba’s November 11th Singles’ Day online shopping event. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

Alibaba Group broke its Singles’ Day sales record with room to spare on Friday, offering assurances about the strength of the Chinese consumer despite the nation’s economic slowdown. Sales on its e-commerce platform reached 120 billion yuan (€16.3 billion) by early evening, easily topping last year’s total of 91.2 billion yuan with about four hours left to run.

Dwarfing both America’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the 24-hour online promotion is closely watched for clues on the health of the economy and its largest online retailer. Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba pioneered the annual shopping spree in 2009 and has since transformed it into a social phenomenon, replicated by rivals including JD.com Inc. and now involving thousands of marquee labels across the world. However the annual rate of growth did slow from 60 per cent last year to 32 per cent this year.

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Executives had set the bar high, confidently predicting another record-breaking endeavour at a time when the economy is growing at its slowest pace in a quarter-century and a weakening yuan may curb enthusiasm for foreign wares. China’s economy is increasingly dependent on its more than a billion consumers as global growth fizzles. Final consumption accounted for more than half of economic output last year. Shoppers have so far shrugged off a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, with retail sales rising by 10.7 per cent in September, a record for the year. – (Bloomberg)