Singles' Day (11.11)

Alibaba smashes record with US$17.8 billion in sales on Singles’ Day

Up to 82 per cent of transactions were conducted by smartphones

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 November, 2016, 1:08am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 November, 2016, 10:42am

Online shoppers have bought a record 120.7 billion yuan (US$17.8 billion) of merchandise through the Alibaba Group Holdings’ e-commerce platforms, capping 24 hours of online shopping frenzy that had become the largest retailing event on the planet.

Up to 82 per cent of transactions were conducted via mobile devices and smartphones, mostly by customers younger than 35 years, according to data provided by Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.

“The excitement around online shopping continues to build year after year, and it’s emblematic of the way that e-commerce is changing, giving consumers incredible access to products around the world,” said Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of Ant Financial Services Group, which operates the Alipay electronics payment system.

Ant Financial said it processed 1.05 billion transactions, an increase of 48 per cent from last year. At the peak of the madcap shopping within the first hour, as many as 120,000 transactions per second were processed, Feagin said.

Before the start of the so-called Singles’ Day shopping gala on November 11, Ant Financial’s MYbank unit granted over 50 billion yuan of loans to 1.33 million merchants to help them put their products online.

Ant Financial’s Ant Credit Pay was also on hand to grant more than 100 million customers credit to finance their online shopping, Feagin said.

“These are merchants and customers who live in the countryside, or who have never ever owned a credit card, who would otherwise not have the property or collateral to qualify for a standard loan from a conventional bank,” he said in a phone interview.

Started in 2009, the Singles’ Day in China has surpassed America’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping events as the world’s largest shopping event, where buyers bid for everything from daily groceries to holiday cruise packages and even a 2016 model Range Rover luxury SUV.

Alibaba’s 2016 haul rose 24.5 per cent from last year, coming just below the 29 per cent increase expected by the average of a Post survey of analysts who track the company.

“International brands find the event a fantastic opportunity to build new connection with Chinese customer,” said Alibaba’s president Michael Evans. As many as 14,000 international brands including Burberry have opened stores on Tmall and are participating in this year’s shopping festival, he said.