GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com set new sales records across their platforms on Singles Day, the largest shopping event in the world.
Shares of JD rose around 4.6% in afternoon trading in Hong Kong on Friday, while Alibaba was down around 1.8%.
The record sales come despite concerns about the strength of the Chinese consumer and the impact of Beijing’s crackdown on technology companies.
While Singles Day, also called Double 1[ads1]1, used to be just a 24-hour flash sales type, it has turned into a multi-day extravaganza, ending at midnight on November 11th. JD began sales in late October while Alibaba started in early November. This extended period has helped the companies to continue to increase sales.
Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shown at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Alibaba’s annual 11.11 Singles’ Day online shopping bonanza, attracting hundreds of millions of people worldwide, is a quieter affair this year as the e-commerce giant seeks to turn around the focus away from increasing sales and more towards sustainability and philanthropy – the key pillars of President Xi Jinping’s commitment to reshaping China’s economy.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty pictures
Alibaba said its gross volume of goods (GMV) over the 11-day period totaled 540.3 billion yuan ($ 84.54 billion), a more than 8% jump from last year’s 498.2 billion yuan.
JD said the platform’s transaction volume was 349.1 billion yuan ($ 54.6 billion) during the Singles Day period, a 28% increase from the 271.5 billion yuan recorded last year.
GMV and transaction volume are not converted to direct revenues for JD and Alibaba. They also do not take into account returned items. The figures relate to the volume of transactions across both of their platforms.
However, they indicate the appetite of Chinese consumers to shop on the e-commerce giants’ platforms.
‘Corporate Social Responsibility’
Both JD and Alibaba proclaimed social and environmental responsibility during the event, and agreed with Beijing’s priorities.
“This Global Shopping Festival 11.11, we delivered steady and quality growth that is a reflection of the dynamic Chinese consumer economy,” said Yang Guang, Vice President of Alibaba, in a press release.
“We have also harnessed the power of 11.11 as a platform to fulfill our social responsibility. This year’s festival was a meaningful milestone as part of our commitment to building a sustainable future.”
JD, meanwhile, said it reduced carbon emissions by 26,000 tonnes during this Singles Day period compared to last year, highlighting its environmental credentials.
What did people buy?
JD said it saw an increase in purchases of luxury products and pet-related items.
Apple seemed to see strong sales. JD said that the transaction volume for iPhones exceeded 100 million yuan in 2 seconds after the final sale started on November 10.
Both Alibaba and JD said they saw growth in smaller Chinese cities, a key focus for e-commerce companies when they want to increase the user base.
Users from so-called lower-level markets accounted for 77% of all customers during the Singles Day period, JD said. The company said it had seen “rapid growth in consumption” from these markets in household appliances, medicine and home decoration.
When Double 11 sales opened Nov. 1 to 3, spending in lower-level cities and rural areas increased by nearly 25% from last year, Alibaba said.