Alibaba's Singles' Day sales hit $30 billion, on track for record

12th Nov 2019    |    Source: reuters.com

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Business News November 10, 2019 / 5:10 PM / Updated 8 minutes ago Alibaba's Singles' Day sales hit $30 billion, on track for record Josh Horwitz 5 Min Read HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - Chinese retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Monday that sales for its annual Singles’ Day shopping blitz crossed the $30 billion mark at 4:31 p.m. (0831 GMT), putting the event on track to set a record in its 11th year. The figure is equivalent to over 80% of U.S. rival Amazon.com Inc’s online store sales in the latest quarter and matches takings across Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms on Singles’ Day last year. Sales growth for the full 24-hour event, however, is likely to fall short of the year earlier, analysts said, held back by a slowing overall e-commerce industry in China at a time when the country’s economic expansion is heading toward a historic low. Related Coverage Factbox: China's love of e-commerce powers Alibaba's Singles' Day On Singles' Day, green groups warn of China's surge in packaging waste The event tmsnrt.rs/2WTFm7V, a gauge of Chinese consumer sentiment, has also become a shop window this year for Alibaba as the firm plans to sell $15 billion worth of shares in Hong Kong this month. The U.S.-listed firm has spent big to diversify its business yet still earns over four-fifths of revenue from e-commerce. Alibaba turned China’s informal Singles’ Day into a shopping event in 2009 and built it into the world’s biggest online sales fest, dwarfing Cyber Monday in the United States which took in $7.9 billion last year. The name is a play on the date, Nov. 11, rendered 11/11 - or Double Eleven, as the event is also known. The event has since been replicated at home and abroad, with Singles’ Day promotions found at rivals such as China’s JD.com Inc and Pinduoduo Inc as well as South Korea’s 11thStreet and Singapore’s Qoo10. But sales growth for Alibaba on Singles’ Day has weakened as China’s economy slowed. Last year, it posted a 27% year-on-year sales increase, the lowest in the event’s 10-year history. Citic Securities forecasts sales to rise 20-25% this year. CELEBRITY START The Chinese retail juggernaut, with a market value of $486 billion, kicked off this year’s 24-hour shopping bonanza with a live performance by U.S. pop star Taylor Swift followed by live-streamed marketing of over 1,000 brands. Sales hit $1 billion after one minute and eight seconds and reached 158.31 billion yuan ($22.6 billion) in the first nine hours, up 25% from the same point last year, Alibaba said. A screen shows the value of goods being transacted during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, November 11, 2019.