Alibaba’s greatest day

Chinese online group Alibaba has smashed last year’s Single’s Day record – but by falling short of analyst expectations, it unfairly seemed a little underwhelming.

Alibaba says total sales for China’s biggest annual online trading day, November 11, reached US$9.3 billion – a little short of the overly optimistic analyst predictions it would break through the $10 billion barrier.

But such observations unreasonably overshadow what was still an incredible achievement given last year’s sales were a relatively modest US$5.8 billion. It achieved some $2billion in just the first hour, as bargain hunters stayed up late for the best early bird bargains.

In local currency terms, this year’s trade was RMB 57.1 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV), the figure calculated by adding up settlements through Alipay on Alibaba’s China and international retail marketplaces.

Tellingly, 42.6 per cent of those sales were via mobiles devices and tablets as opposed to laptop or desktop computers, a remarkably high figure reflecting China’s love of smartphones and tablets.

“We are particularly encouraged by the growing trend of consumers embracing mobile shopping on a global stage. Alibaba is humbled to play a role in making it easy for people to do business anywhere,” commented Jonathan Lu, CEO of Alibaba Group.

“On behalf of our entire ecosystem — from millions of buyers and merchants both here and abroad — we are very happy with the results of this year’s 11.11 shopping festival.”

The 11.11 Shopping Festival (“11.11”) began in 2009 with 27 merchant participants as an event for Tmall.com merchants and consumers to raise awareness of the value in online shopping. This year, more than 27,000 brands and merchants participated in the event, including Costco, Muji, Desigual, Asos and The North Face.


By expanding globally with the participation of AliExpress and Tmall Global, consumers from over 217 countries and regions were able to select from more than 1 million products through online storefronts and e-commerce websites.

At its peak this year, Alipay was processing 2.85 million transactions per minute. Some 278.5 million logistics orders were generated during the 24 hour period.

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