China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

by Harriet Bell November 12, 2017, 0:54
China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

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.

Adding in Amazon Prime Day sales in 2016, estimated to be around $525 million in 2016 (and between $1 billion to $2.2 billion this year), the total spent during these US shopping days total over $9.2 billion. As with the gradual extension of Black Friday shopping into Thanksgiving Day, Singles' Day has grown to be more than just a one-day event.

This was 29 percent higher than 2016, when the online shopping company made $17.8 billion.

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Global consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimated this week that Alibaba's Singles' Day sales across all e-commerce platforms this year will surge to a record 152 billion yuan (US$23 billion), compared with total spending of 120.7 billion yuan in 2016 on Alibaba platforms, including Tmall and Taobao.

Also known as "Double 11" for the November 11 date, the event launched in 2009 by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (November里巴巴) started at midnight and ended up shattering the last year's sales mark, as it does every year.

Alibaba rivals such as JD.com also reported brisk business.

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More than half of China's 1.3 billion people use smartphones, which have become central to daily life, used for messaging, shopping, news and entertainment, ordering taxis and meals, and serving as digital wallets for a range of point-of-sale purchases.

But environmentalists accuse Alibaba and other e-tailers of fuelling a culture of excessive consumption and mountains of waste. Market research experts say the massive growth is attributed to retailers competing for a share of consumer spending in China's growing economy. Greenpeace said Singles' Day deliveries previous year created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste - less than 10 per cent of which is recycled. Quirkier items meant to nail in on the joke about the nature of Singles' Day were heavily promoted, such as a one time payment of 11,111 yuans (roughly $1,672 USD) for a lifetime supply of baiju liquor.

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