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Alibaba’s post-COVID Singles’ Day sales event tops $74 Billion



Above: Photo Collage / Lynxotic

Increased sales showcase China’s recovering economy post-pandemic 

Alibaba Group Holding Limited held its annual Singles’ Day sales event and shattered its 2019 sales.  The event, which is typically held on the 11th of November was extended an additional 3 days and contributed to the large number of sales.  

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This year, the shopping extravaganza yielded huge number with the company reporting $75.1 billion dollars (498.2 billion yuan). These numbers have already beaten the record haul that last years Singles’ Day event brought in at $40.5 billion (268.4 billion yuan). 

Although it’s often dubbed as China’s equivalent to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Singles’ Day is much bigger. This year,  Nov 1-3 kicked off the event, with the sales event ending midnight of 11/11.

Xiaofeng Wang, an analyst for Forrest Market Research commented on the consumer’s post-covid consumption habits, “China’s economy has seen a strong recovery and Chinese consumers’ purchase behaviors have already returned to pre-pandemic levels, if not higher”. 

Recap of singles’ day 2020 / alibaba group twitter account

A modern China remake of Cyber Monday 

The origin of Singles’ Day comes from the event’s date, 11/11 or “double eleven,” which references the number one as it relates to being single and not in a relationship (one is the loneliest number after all). When it first occurred in 2009, it was a kind of an anti-Valentine’s Day when single people could splurge and purchase gifts for themselves.

 In its more recent years, Singles’ Day has welcomed all, regardless of their relationship status, and has turned into a major online shopping event where consumers across the globe can buy name brand items at discounted prices. 

Because of its worldwide popularity, this ‘single’-day sales event was eventually rebranded into the Global Shopping Festival in 2015 as it became more like a “holiday season celebrated by merchants and consumers worldwide.”

Although Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce site, nearly half a billion shoppers participate around the world as they bolster global reach through its multiple websites dedicated to handling sales between China and specific global regions, with Hong Kong, US, Australia, UK, and Japan accounting for some of the international buyers that take part. 

Last year, the event’s launch included a countdown celebration gala with big-name musical performances from Jackson Yee, G.E.M. and Taylor Swift.  Due to the stark difference from last year and China still recovering from the pandemic, Alibaba decided to scale back on live events and instead relied on live-streaming. For the 2020 event, pop star Katy Perry made an online appearance to perform one of her hit songs during the gala late Tuesday night. 

Alibaba has reported stronger than previous expected earning for its fiscal second quarter, undoubtedly following China’s ease of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. 

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