By Wednesday morning, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said orders made during its Singles’ Day mega-shopping festival had surpassed $56 billion, as customers tried to cash in on a deluge of rebates.
The shopping extravaganza this year comes a week after Alibaba lost nearly $76bn of its market value following China’s suspension of Ant Group’s $37bn listing, the financial technology corporation that owns a third of Alibaba.
It also takes place as China experiences an economic rebound after having controlled the spread of the novel coronavirus within its borders after the emergence of the virus in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
The annual online blitz was introduced earlier this year by Alibaba, with two main discount cycles running from November 1 through November 3 and again on November 11.
As compared to the normal 24 hours, the company would measure gross merchandise volume (GMV) for the entire 11-day cycle.
The campaign’s GMV had reached 372.3 billion Chinese yuan ($56.3 billion) as of 12:30 local time (16:30 GMT) on November 11, with the order rate reaching a record high of 583,000 per second, Alibaba said.
At the beginning of Singles’ Day, Alibaba, Asia’s largest corporation, blew past last year’s record $38bn.
Chinese customers, who already buy about 30% of the nation’s online retail sales, have become more focused on e-commerce.
Homebound shoppers transformed grocery delivery into the hottest arena of the industry, anchoring an unprecedented rise in online activity during the national lockdown. Domestic travel is accelerating, helping Alibaba companies like Fliggy, while it is anticipated that a raft of new smartphones released during the quarter would tap pent-up demand for electronics.
Alibaba has said that more than two million new items are being launched, double last year’s number. The Chinese version of TikTok-JD.com Inc and Pinduoduo Inc of Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd also hold their own Singles’ Day shopping events for other companies such as Douyin.
JD.com, which began its shopping promotions on November 1, said it reported sales of 200 billion yuan ($30.3 billion) by nine minutes after midnight on Wednesday, while Alibaba’s part-owned electronics retailer Suning.com Co Ltd said it made sales of five billion yuan ($758 million) in the first 19 minutes of the day.
Discussions about Singles’ Day trended on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, while a Sina Entertainment poll, which attracted 174,000 respondents, found 76,000 people aimed at spending less than 1,000 yuan ($151.60), while only 7,341 expected to spend more than 10,000 yuan ($1,515.92).
The shopping event was first launched in 2009 by Alibaba and has made it the largest online sales festival in the world, eclipsing Cyber Monday in the United States. It reported $38.4bn in GMV a day last year.