U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 16 mins

Chinese shoppers just spent a record $30.8 billion on Alibaba’s Singles Day

Krystal Hu
Reporter

Alibaba (BABA) just broke its own sales record on Singles Day.

The world’s largest shopping holiday on November 11, hit a new record of RMB 213.5 billion ($30.8 billion) in gross merchandise value (GMV). Despite the impressive record, in its tenth year, Singles Day is expanding at the slowest pace. Sales this year grew 27%, compared to 39% in 2017 and 32% in 2016.

Alibaba Singles Day sales record

Shoppers ordered over 1 billion packages within 24 hours from 180,000 brands on Alibaba’s retail platform, including online marketplace Tmall, Taobao and AliExpress. This shows robust consumer demand despite concerns about China’s economic growth slowdown. Lazada, Alibaba’s subsidiary in Southeast Asia, participated Singles Day for the first time. Analysts at Deutsche Bank estimate the GMV growth rate could be at least three percentage points lower without Lazada-related sales.

Still, the sales results dwarfed holiday shopping spending in the U.S., where people spent $14.5 billion online during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017, according to software company Adobe. Online sales this year for the five-day holiday (include the weekend) is expected to be $23.4 billion.

A staff member rests next to a pile of packages at a logistics base of electrical appliance retailer Suning during Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on November 11, 2018 in Nanjing, China. (Photo by VCG via Getty Images)

Digital savvy young consumers are fueling the growth of Singles Day. Forty-six percent of the shoppers are young millennials, known as the post-1990s generation in China (people born between 1990-1999). While the platform sees a deceleration in home appliance and cellphone sales, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the demand for makeup and wellness products is surging, showing consumption upgrade trends.

The already whopping GMV number doesn’t include any offline sales, one of Alibaba’s focus on its new retail strategy. Within Alibaba’s ecosystem, Easyhome, China’s second-largest home-improvement supplies and furniture chain welcomed exciting shoppers lining up outside when it opened its doors at 12 am (shown in the video). Food delivery app Ele.me also saw orders increased by 114% in the first 9 hours of this year’s Singles Day.

“Chinese consumers’ wealth and enthusiasm for online shopping continue to advance,” Jeff Towson, who teaches investment at Peking University, told Yahoo Finance. China’s government has been making efforts to grow the second-largest economy in the world by stimulating domestic consumption. It just hosted the first International Import Expo last week, in an effort to lure foreign companies access to a growing middle class in China, about 500 million people.

Other online retailers in China have shared in Alibaba’s Singles Day profits, too. JD.com (JD), China’s second-largest e-commerce platform, recorded RMB 159.8 billion ($22.9 billion) during its Singles Day sale from November 1 to 11.

The story has been updated with analysts comment.

Krystal Hu covers tech and economy at Yahoo Finance. Write to Krystal at krystalh@yahoofinance.com or follow her on Twitter.

Read more:

Why the $375 billion US-China trade deficit can be totally misleading

Foxconn executive: Make products in the U.S. and sell them to China

Why you won’t feel much pain from Trump’s tariffs this holiday season