Alibaba pledges ‘largest ever’ Singles’ Day as shopping festival marks 10th anniversary, goes international
- Subsidiary Lazada to hold Singles’ Day promotions in Southeast Asia
- Tmall to engage 180,000 Chinese and global brands
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding expects to achieve a record 1 billion orders in 24 hours during Singles’ Day on November 11, as the company pulls together its entire retail ecosystem in China and overseas to participate in the world’s largest online shopping festival this year.
The festival will see the participation of more merchants and consumers outside China to mark the event’s 10th anniversary, as Southeast Asian subsidiary Lazada Group will jointly hold for the first time Singles’ Day promotions across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“When we established the November 11 shopping festival in 2009, we were seeking a way to expand our business,” Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong said at a press conference in Beijing on Friday. “Today, the festival is not only the most important shopping event for Chinese consumers, but it also has looped in substantial [number of] consumers from overseas to participate.”
Zhang said this year’s edition of Singles’ Day will be “bigger and more successful than in previous years”, following the initiatives taken by Alibaba under its New Retail strategy, which seeks to integrate the online and offline shopping experiences for consumers across a number of products and services.
Apart from online shopping platforms Taobao Marketplace, Tmall and Lazada, the Singles’ Day activities of Alibaba next month will include food delivery service Ele.me, food and lifestyle services arm Koubei, supermarket chain Hema, hypermart operator RT-Mart and the company’s other offline retail units.
“Over the last two years, we have pioneered the concept of New Retail to accelerate the digital transformation of the offline [shopping experience],” Zhang said. “We aim to become both the number one business partner for brands and the number one shopping destination for consumers.”
Alibaba has boosted investment to support its New Retail strategy amid increased competition on multiple fronts in China, where its ecosystem of services rival those of Tencent Holdings.
The Hangzhou-based company, for example, has invested in on-demand local services as a way to increase user engagement. By integrating delivery services with everything from merchants on its Taobao Marketplace and Tmall shopping platforms to meals, groceries and pharmacy services, Alibaba can push more of its ecosystem of products and services to users, as well as widen the use of its Alipay payments channel under affiliate Ant Financial Services.
This year’s “11.11” global shopping festival promotion of Alibaba will cover 400 cities, 200,000 smart stores and 100 key commercial zones in mainland China.
Business-to-consumer platform Tmall will engage 180,000 Chinese and global brands. About 500,000 items will be available for pre-order on Tmall from October 20. The Tmall Global platform will provide 3,700 categories of imported goods from 75 countries and regions.
Ele.me’s on-demand platform will provide delivery services for select Starbucks stores across 11 Chinese cities, including full-service coverage in Beijing and Shanghai. Koubei will offer discount deals from 150,000 restaurants, malls and entertainment and leisure destinations. Alibaba recently announced the merger of these two units.
AliExpress, which is responsible for the festival’s international promotion, will have activities spanning a total of 48 hours.
Around 100 Hema stores will join the 11.11 promotion this year, while nearly 400 RT-Mart supermarkets will also participate. Intime will offer promotions in 34 cities through its 62 malls, while 222 EasyHome stores will be participating for the first time.
Alibaba, the parent company of the South China Morning Post, will also team up with Google and Line to help promote this year’s festival.
The company recorded US$25.3 billion in gross merchandise volume during Singles’ Day last year, compared with US$7.8 million in total sales transacted on its e-commerce platform when the online shopping festival was first held in 2009.
Users of Alibaba’s online platforms, including Mobile Taobao, Ele.me and Youku, as well as customers of offline retail stores will earn credits and have the opportunity to cash these from November 11 for red packets totaling 1 billion yuan (US$144 million), according to the company.
Its Singles’ Day gala celebration will be held on the evening of November 10, broadcast live by online video service Youku from the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai.