Chinese retailer, Alibaba Group Holding’s sales for its 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping event hit a record of $38.4 billion, more than U.S. rival Amazon.com’s haul last quarter from online store sales.
However, sales development for the annual shopping event eased to 26%, the weakest since the event began in 2009, held back by a slowing e-commerce sector in China as the nation’s economic growth heads toward a historic low.
The event, a gauge of Chinese shopper sentiment, has further become a shop window this year for Alibaba as it plans to sell out $15 billion value of shares in Hong Kong this month. The U.S.-listed agency has spent big to diversify its enterprise yet earns over four-fifths of income from e-commerce.
Alibaba turned China’s informal Singles’ Day into a shopping blitz in 2009 and built it into the world’s most prominent online sales fest, dwarfing Cyber Monday in the U.S., which took in $7.9 billion in 2018. The title is a play on the date, November 11, rendered 11/11 – or Double Eleven.
The event has since been replicated at home and overseas, with Singles’ Day promotions found at competitors such as China’s JD.com and Pinduoduo as well as South Korea’s 11thStreet and Singapore’s Qoo10.
Alibaba stated Monday its gross merchandise volume (GMV) for the entire blitz came in at 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion), up 26% from a year earlier, however, below Citic Securities’ estimates for a 20-25% expansion.
The Chinese retail titan, with a market worth of $486 billion, kicked off this year’s 24-hour shopping festival with a live performance by U.S. pop star Taylor Swift followed by live-streamed advertising and marketing of over 1,000 brands.
The agency stated 84 brands, along with those of Apple, L’Oreal, and Fast Retailing Uniqlo, each revamped 100 million yuan in sales in the first hour.