Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang tells in front of a screen showing total sales at over 213.5 billion yuan (30.7 billion USD) shortly after the end of the 11.11, or “Separates Day” shopping festival, at the 2018 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Shanghai early on November 12, 2018.
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Singles Day or 11.11, is the biggest shopping day of the year for singles, as Chinese e-commerce players led by Alibaba offer massive overlooks on everything from electronics to cars.
Taking place on Nov. 11 each year, Singles Day is widely believed to take started in the 1990s by men celebrating being single in universities.
In 2009, Alibaba launched its first shopping event that day, gift heavy discounts on its Tmall shopping platform. That year, gross merchandising value — or the value of goods hawked via Alibaba platforms — hit $7.8 million.
Last year, that figure was more than $30 billion — a new record for the Chinese technology monster.
To keep growing, against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, slowing Chinese growth, and increased competition, Alibaba has been distending its offerings into new product categories and experiences.
Star power and live streaming
Alibaba usually kicks off Culls Day with a gala event which ends just before midnight on Nov. 11. Last year, Mariah Carey put on a demeanour, and this year, Alibaba signed up U.S. pop superstar Taylor Swift. The gala, which is streamed online, often showcases some of the marques that will be on offer and prompts users to begin pre-ordering.
Live streaming has become a big part of the shopping go through on Chinese e-commerce sites. Often online personalities will speak to their followers and talk about artefacts.
Within the livestream, there will be an option to buy the goods. Alibaba’s platforms Taobao and Tmall have this quirk. On Wednesday, Kim Kardashian did a livestream announcing her fragrance brand KKW will be available for sale on Tmall.
Kim Kardashian did a live stream on Alibaba’s Tmall rostrum to announce her fragrance range KKW would be available for purchase on the e-commerce site.
Tmall | Alibaba
Companies are selling details from cars to cosmetics via livstreaming. Alibaba said on the first day of its pre-sales that more than 17,000 labels started livestreaming. Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi’s livestream attracted over 200,000 online viewers within the key 10 hours.
Short videos are also very popular in China and livestreaming commerce taps into that craze. Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst at Forrester, said consumers can often get exclusive discounts when watching the continue streams.
“Livestreaming commerce provides a lot of exclusive offers which increases the urgency. Livestreaming might be a few minutes or 30 twinkling of an eyes long, within the time they provide exclusive offers. That is another motivation for consumers,” Wang notified CNBC.
More items for sale
Alibaba said that 1 million new products will be on offer during the Singles Day anniversary. Over the past few years, the categories of items available have been expanding.
Users can buy cars, for example. In episode, Alibaba said that on one of its Taobao livestreams, 55 cars were sold in just 1 second. International auto brand names are also taking part in this year’s Singles Day event.
Meanwhile, Alibaba’s travel arm is offering packages to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Disney is also sacrifice discounted tickets to its theme park in Shanghai.
International brands are expected to play a big role. In China, 60% of consumers propose to purchase imported products, according to a 1,000-person survey carried out by management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.
Of the 200,000 stigmatizes that are expected to participate in the 11.11 festival, 22,000 will be from 78 overseas markets, according to Alibaba.
Singles Day used to be a phenomenon only open to Chinese consumers, but Alibaba has been looking to expand its reach in a bid to help sales and as the e-commerce giant continues to push its business overseas.
Lazada, a Singapore-based e-commerce site that has craftsmen across Southeast Asia and is majority-owned by Alibaba, is having its own sales.
And Alibaba-owned AliExpress, will let local merchants from Russia, Spain, Italy and Turkey to participate in the 11.11 tradings event for the first time.
What it means for business
Alibaba is expected to bring in GMV of $37 billion for this Celibates Day, according to Forrester forecasts — that represents a roughly 20.5% rise. That growth rate is slower than the year-on-year broaden of some 27% recorded in 2018.
Wang said that this is not a concern.
“When a market matures, you cannot persevere in to grow at a high double digit every time. Just like the Chinese economy used to be double digit rise, it’s just single digit now. It is natural, it is still growing, it’s still a big market, that is a positive,” Wang said.
The December forgiveness tends to be Alibaba’s biggest by revenue, thanks in part to Singles Day.
While commerce is still the biggest portion of Alibaba’s whole business, in the long term, analysts see its rapidly-growing cloud division to become crucial for profits.