Chinese spend billions shopping online on 'Singles Day'

Nov 12, 2017, 01:56
Chinese spend billions shopping online on 'Singles Day'

The massive, promotion-driven shopping event in China that drives the biggest one-day online sales in the world, is not the natural setting for high-end luxury brands - so e-commerce marketplace Alibaba made a place for them. The 2017 Singles Day sale is already over $3 billion ahead.

E-commerce giant Alibaba on Saturday kicked off its ninth edition of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, its annual sales event. More than 140,000 brands will participate this year, Alibaba said. Just five minutes after midnight, Alipay, Alibaba's online payment system, was already processing 256,000 transactions per second, double the highest rate recorded past year.

While there is no definitive explanation on the origins of Singles' Day, it is believed by many to have been conceived in the 1990s as a day for China's legions of unmarried young adults to celebrate their lack of romantic commitments.

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The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become crucial for manufacturers and retailers across the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses. That's 39% above the 2016 Singles' Day sales total of $17.8 billion which was eclipsed after just 13 hours and nine minutes into the shopping extravaganza. It is expected that an estimated 1.5 billion parcels related to the event will be shipped over the next six days to millions of people across more than 600 cities.

Alibaba's rivals, such as JD.com Inc (京東商城), and a range of retailers have joined in, with merchants slashing prices to move goods. Alipay processed 1.5 billion payment transactions in total, up 41% from 2016, and processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak.

Alibaba turned 100,000 physical shops around China into "smart stores" for this year's event.

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Alibaba Day, known as the "11.11 Global Shopping Festival", is the largest e-commerce day in the world, driven by the main Alibaba platform, Tmall.

Greenpeace said "Singles Day" deliveries previous year created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste - less than 10 percent of which is recycled.

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