Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

Singles' Day is China's much larger version of Black Friday. The day began innocently enough in 1993 at Nanjing University as a day to revel in singledom, according to Forbes; Alibaba's online shopping festival for the event began in 2009 as a self-affirming excuse to buy a lot online with the knowledge you're sticking it in the face of the retailers who cater to couples on Valentine's Day, but now it's become the showground for Alibaba's blossoming rivalry with Amazon.

Joe Tsai, co-founder and vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, told 700 reporters from all over the world in Shanghai that a total of 140,000 brands are taking part this year, up 40 per cent from last year. Last year, online sales sold over $3 billion. Market research experts say the massive growth is attributed to retailers competing for a share of consumer spending in China's growing economy. It is expected that an estimated 1.5 billion parcels related to the event will be shipped over the next six days to millions of people across more than 600 cities.

Just like U.S. versions of the shopping holidays, Alibaba offered discounts on a variety of goods, from household items to electronic gadgets to clothing to beauty supplies. About 90 percent of transactions were done via mobile. Alipay processed 1.5 billion payment transactions in total, up 41% from 2016, and processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak.

But JD.com, reporting 11.11 figures for the first time, generated 127.1 billion RMB in revenue, or $19.14 billion.

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Alibaba ( BABA ) racked up another huge take from its "11.11 Global Shopping Festival", but JD.com ( JD ) also enjoyed a sales windfall. Ahead of the event, the retailer also outfitted almost 100,000 of its Tmall stores across China with facial recognition technology to process payments.

"Using past growth figures, Hylink have predicted that Singles' Day is expected to generate over US$21 billion in sales this year".

"It could end up dominating e-commerce in developing countries".

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