Singles' Day sales soar to new records

Jon Howard
November 14, 2017

E-commerce site Lazada made US$123 million (S$167.4 million) in sales on Singles Day last Saturday (Nov 11), smashing last year's takings by 171 per cent. Furthermore, the company's trade covered 225 nations and regions worldwide.

China's second-largest e-commerce company (NASDAQ: JD) on Monday reported better-than-expected financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, sending the stock up over 5 percent. Sales achieved at Amazon's last Prime Day, held in July this year and which actually lasted for 30 hours, were one billion U.S. dollars.

Everything about Singles Day is noteworthy, from the sales volume to the number of transactions that get processed on mobile payment platforms.

"The festive atmosphere for Singles' Day is much stronger in Taiwan this year, as more e-commerce operators are joining the annual shopping festival and are stepping up marketing efforts", president Lin Chi-feng (林啟峰) told a media gathering at the beginning of this month. It has emerged as the world's biggest shopping event and exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. It is a festival widespread among young mainland Chinese people to celebrate the fact they are proud of being single.

"In terms of scale it just dwarfs any other event out there", said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.

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If you're single, you might want to consider moving to China, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) has created the kind of anti-Valentine's Day shopping extravaganza that many flying solo in the states spend on holiday lattes. In the first two hours, Alibaba raked in $12 billion.

To that end, Alibaba teams fanned out across the nation before the event to help outlets - some 600,000 mom-and-pop convenient stores and about 1,000 brands - upgrade their computer systems.

Shoppers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam ordered 6.5 million items, 191 per cent or almost double that of previous year, Lazada said in a media release on Monday (Nov 13).

While JD traditionally leads in online retail sales, backed by extensive infrastructure, Alibaba has sought to win over merchants to its own growing retail platform, underpinned by new investments in logistics this year. For example, Alipay dealt with over a billion transactions and Cainao delivered 657 million packages in 24-hours on Singles Day.

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