14:14 - 11.11.2016 / Views: 8
Alibaba Singles’ Day Sales Tops 2015 Total, But Growth Slows
Alibaba Singles’ Day Sales Tops 2015 Total, But Growth Slows

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales surged past last year’s 91.2 billion yuan ($13.36 billion) total with nearly nine hours left on the clock, but growth was markedly slower than in 2015 as shoppers sought even bigger price cuts.

Amid fanfare and celebrity razzmatazz, sales on Alibaba’s platforms had raced to a billion dollars in under five minutes and within the first sixty minutes had passed $5 billion – a third faster than 2015 as the e-commerce giant looked to shrug off a domestic economic slowdown and a U.S. accounting probe.

The 24-hour event held annually on Nov. 11 offers a benchmark for Alibaba’s performance and an insight into China’s swing to online shopping, especially via smartphones. Launched in 2009, Alibaba’s version of the event was designed to encourage consumers without a partner to treat themselves.

Sales growth was down from last year’s 60 percent amid a more saturated domestic online retail market, a weaker economy and sluggish personal income growth. A strong U.S. dollar also hit the headline sales figure in dollar terms.

The discount shopping day, also known as “Double 11”, still shifts more goods than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined. Sales on Alibaba platforms, including Tmall and Taobao, are tipped to exceed $20 billion this year.

“Back in 2013, 35 billion yuan ($5.14 billion) was our one-day GMV (gross merchandise volume),” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in a live microblog posting on Alibaba’s event. “Now we can achieve it in one hour.”

GMV refers to the value of goods sold by vendors through Alibaba’s platforms. Alibaba makes money through advertising and charging vendors a proportion of their sales.

MOBILE SHOPPING SURGE

After a beefed-up marketing push over the last month – with fashion shows and virtual reality games – sales officially opened at midnight, releasing a wave of pre-orders that shoppers had placed ahead of the event. Sports stars David Beckham and Kobe Bryant attended the countdown, though headline act Katy Perry pulled out last minute citing a “family” issue.

At 1519 p.m. (0719 GMT) a live sales tracker at Alibaba’s main event in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen passed the 2015 yuan total, ensuring the day will set a new record but, in dollar terms, was still short of 2015’s $14.3 billion.

The rise of Singles’ Day reflects how China’s consumers, armed with smartphones, are racing online to shop – to the detriment of bricks and mortar stores. So far on Friday, 83 percent of sales were via mobile devices, up strongly from last year, Alibaba said.

The day itself is a double-edged sword for many: Couriers, packaging firms and vendors say low prices and steep competition mean profit margins are slim despite large sales volumes.

Cut-throat competition for customers has also caused concern over false advertising and massaged statistics. This week China’s business regulator advised mainland online shopping platforms to guard against suspect sales tactics.

In May this year, Alibaba said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was looking into how it reports its Single’s Day figures. Alibaba said at the time it was cooperating with the authorities, and that the SEC advised it the investigation should not be seen as an indication the company had violated federal securities laws.

Alibaba declined to comment on the SEC probe on Friday.

Alibaba is not the only retailer to mark Nov. 11 with a massive sales drive. China’s no. 2 e-commerce player JD.com Inc and many others also offer discount deals on the day.

U.S. lawmakers push for answers on Trump team’s Russia ties
15:15 - 16.02.2017

A crisis over the relationship between President Donald Trump’s aides and Russia deepened on Wednesday as a growing number of Trump’s fellow Republicans demanded expanded congressional inquiries into the matter. Trump sought to focus attention on what he called criminal intelligence leaks about his ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump forced Flynn out on

North Korea launches ballistic missile test
12:12 - 13.02.2017

North Korea fired off a ballistic missile into the East Sea from Banghyeon North Pyongan Province early Sunday, according to South Korean officials. South Korea’s military is analyzing exactly what type of missile it was but there’s a strong possibility that it was a midrange Musudan type, according to officials. North Korea has test fired

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier
12:12 - 13.02.2017

For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of

After day in South Korea court, Samsung chief awaits arrest decision
15:15 - 16.02.2017

Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee left a Seoul court after more than eight hours on Thursday to await a decision on whether he will be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye. The 48-year-old Lee, wearing a dark coat and navy tie, kept his head down

Key business lobby warns UK not to play favorites in Brexit
12:12 - 13.02.2017

A key business lobby warned Britain’s government Monday not to play favorites among industries when it negotiates the country’s exit from the European Union, saying that ignoring any sector would hurt the entire economy. The Confederation of British Industries and the international law firm Clifford Chance also said in a new report that it is

Trump, South Korea’s Hwang agree to strengthen defenses against North Korea: White House
16:16 - 30.01.2017

U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn agreed to take steps to strengthen joint defense capabilities to defend against North Korea’s nuclear threat, the White House said on Sunday after a telephone call between the two leaders. “President Trump reiterated our ironclad commitment to defend (South Korea), including through the provision

After day in South Korea court, Samsung chief awaits arrest decision
15:15 - 16.02.2017

Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee left a Seoul court after more than eight hours on Thursday to await a decision on whether he will be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye. The 48-year-old Lee, wearing a dark coat and navy tie, kept his head down

BT supports Google’s Android in EU antitrust row
21:21 - 06.02.2017

BT (BT.L) has become the first major telecoms company to back Google (GOOGL.O) in a battle with EU regulators, defending the “stability and compatibility” of the Android operating system, which is in the sights of anti-trust regulators. The EU says Google stifles competition by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install its search function and browser to

Nokia beats market expectations, sees network market improving
14:14 - 02.02.2017

Finnish network equipment maker Nokia reported its quarterly profits fell less than expected, helped by cost cuts and the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, and said the tough global market was starting to stabilize. Nokia and its rivals, Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei [HWT.UL], have struggled lately as telecom operators’ demand for faster 4G mobile broadband equipment

U.S. lawmakers push for answers on Trump team’s Russia ties
15:15 - 16.02.2017

A crisis over the relationship between President Donald Trump’s aides and Russia deepened on Wednesday as a growing number of Trump’s fellow Republicans demanded expanded congressional inquiries into the matter. Trump sought to focus attention on what he called criminal intelligence leaks about his ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump forced Flynn out on

BT supports Google’s Android in EU antitrust row
21:21 - 06.02.2017

BT (BT.L) has become the first major telecoms company to back Google (GOOGL.O) in a battle with EU regulators, defending the “stability and compatibility” of the Android operating system, which is in the sights of anti-trust regulators. The EU says Google stifles competition by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install its search function and browser to

Iran says it sealed Boeing plane deal at half price
20:20 - 26.12.2016

Iran said on Sunday it had negotiated to pay only about half the announced price for 80 new Boeing (BA.N) airliners in an order that the American planemaker had said was worth $16.6 billion. Boeing and its European rival Airbus (AIR.PA) have both signed huge contracts this month to supply airliners to Iran, the first