Singles’ Day 2020: Alibaba sets sales record

On 11 November China celebrated Guanggun Jie, i.e. Singles’ Day. It is a festival of Chinese origin whose purpose is to celebrate the freedom coming from being single. The chosen date is linked to the symbolism of number 1 which indicates solitude. The number 1 in fact recalls a “bare stick”, which is Chinese slang to refere to single men. Regardless of its cultural origins, Singles’ Day has become famous everywhere mainly because it has turned into the biggest shopping day in the world, also surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It was the e-commerce giant founded by Jack Ma, Alibaba, that made 11 November the most lucrative online shopping day ever. The company credits the creation of Singles’ Day to Daniel Zhang, the CEO who managed to seize a business opportunity in a fairly dead period, from a sales point of view, like November. So, year after year, through discounts and special offers that called for shopping spree, Alibaba has managed to record incredible figures.

In 2019, Alibaba closed the day with 268.44 billion yuan, that is 38.37 billion dollars within 24 hours, exceeding  analysts’ proyections who expected a 37 billion profit (about 7 billion more than to 2018).

This year it has decided to extend the offer period, starting the discounts already between 1 and 3 November. In the first 111 minutes alone, it recorded sales for 100 million yuan, meaning 12 million dollars. At midnight on the 11th, it reached $56.3 billion at a rate of 583,000 orders per second. As the discounts timefram closed, Alibaba counted 372.3 billion yuan ($56.22 billion).

Singles’ Day was therefore a further confirmation of post-covid China’s economic recovery, in which the Chinese poured out the pandemic stress with crazy shopping, setting a new online sales record. The most purchased products by the Chinese were fashion items and accessories.

The enthusiasm for the success of Singles’ Day was, however, partially held back by the stock market crash of Alibaba’s shares. In fact, the e-commerce giant loses almost 10% and burns more than 250 billion dollars, equal to five times the revenue from sales. The fault is attributable to the fact that the IPO of Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech, has been suspended on Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.

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