Chinese shoppers spend $ 139 billion on Singles’ Day


Alibaba totaled 540.3 billion yuan ($ 84.5 billion) in spending for the festival which ran from November 1 to November 11, the company said Thursday, a 14% increase over an increase. nearly 93% last year.

Rival has recorded transactions worth 349.1 billion yuan ($ 54.6 billion) this year, since October 24. November 31 to 11, about a 28% increase from the 32% growth in 2020.

The slowdown in growth for the world’s largest online shopping festival, which typically ends on November 11, comes amid reduced marketing hype and a crackdown on the tech sector.

Singles’ Day was considered the biggest online marketing event of the year. In previous years, the festival was heavily advertised for weeks in advance with brands and merchants offering hefty discounts to lure bargain-seeking consumers.

But shoppers say deep discounts on what’s also called “Double Eleven” are now a thing of the past, and experts are predicting lower sales as the economy slows.

This year, Alibaba, the e-commerce platform that pioneered the online shopping festival more than a decade ago, has decided not to show a running tally of its real-time gross volume of goods (GMV) – defined like the amount of transactions accumulated through its platform – on its site for the shopping festival, taking on a more subdued tone than previous years of glitzy marketing campaigns.

Chinese regulators cracked down on tech companies, investigating giants like Alibaba and food delivery company Meituan for allegedly anti-competitive practices.

Earlier this year, Alibaba was fined a record $ 2.8 billion fine for violating antitrust rules. Ahead of Singles’ Day, Alibaba, rival and Meituan were among the companies asked to curb excess marketing SMS sent to consumers at the festival.

Last week, 16 e-commerce platform operators, some of them linked to Alibaba and Meituan, were also summoned by regulators in southern Guangdong province and warned of “unfair competition”.

The platforms are also curbing the marketing hype to align with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calls for “common prosperity,” which includes reducing excesses and promoting a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources.

“The decision not to publish a live GMV tally suggests that major Chinese e-commerce platforms believe this consumption view is inconsistent with current ‘common prosperity’ themes,” said Michael Norris, Head of Research Strategy. at the consulting agency China based in Shanghai.

“While not publishing a real-time GMV tally may appease local sensitivity, without careful management, it could scare off foreign investors who are already worried about Alibaba’s growth prospects,” he said.

Online retailer also hasn’t publicly broadcast a running sales tally this year. But on Thursday it held a media event, where a counter showed that by 2pm local time, shoppers had spent over $ 48 billion.

While it was common to see consumers take advantage of hefty discounts at past singles day festivals to stock up on daily necessities, consumption habits have changed.

Demand is weaker due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, and Singles Day is now competing with other ecommerce festivals throughout the year.

“2021 is a year of difficult times. There is a pandemic and various disasters, economic growth is slow and the stock market is not doing well, “said Hua Wei, a resident of Beijing.

“These put people in a bit of a panic. After all, you have a stronger sense of security if you keep your money, “he said.” I think people are even more rational now when it comes to consumption. “

Another buyer, Jiang Chen, said he held back impulse shopping this year, buying only what he needed.

“I don’t think you need to waste time and energy to save some money, so the things I buy are what I need,” she said, like snacks and fruit.

Jiang seemed happy with a lower key approach to the festival.

“I hope there will be less hype and hype in future sales (Singles Day) and that the discounts will be bigger,” he said.

Meng Xiaolu, a sales manager living in eastern Zhejiang Province, said she spent most of her shopping budget for this month on Singles Day cosmetics and clothing sales.

“Due to the pandemic, I am unable to travel and vacation, so all I can do is find some joy in online shopping,” she said. “I think shopping on Double Eleven has become a habit for young people.”


The photo captions for this story have been corrected to correct the title of the research institute director.


AP video producer Caroline Chen in Beijing and researcher Chen Si in Shanghai contributed to this report.


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