Alibaba reeled in record-breaking sales during this year’s Singles' Day event, generating $25.3 billion in revenue, Business Insider reports. This marks a 39% year-over-year (YoY) increase in sales. Alibaba pulled in $1 billion in two minutes and one second after the start of the event, and $12 billion within two hours.
This massive event shows the potential of the Chinese market: Alibaba’s Singles' Day sales in the country nearly doubled the $12.8 billion that US retailers saw between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year.
Alibaba worked to upgrade physical stores ahead of the festival, in order to leverage its growing physical presence and facilitate delivery.
- Alibaba helped about 600,000 smaller retailers and convenience stores, which it used as delivery and storage centers, upgrade their computer systems ahead of the event. The efficacy of these delivery points was critical to the retailer, as it offered one-hour delivery on certain items. It also connected these retailers to an app, dubbed Ling Shou Tong (Connected Retail), that suggests how to merchandise items, and which products to have in stock.
- It also added various technologies, such as payment via facial recognition, to 100,000 stores in China for the event. Additionally, the shops allowed customers to track product availability across locations, and enabled them to have items delivered to their homes.
The company's decision to push the event in Southeast Asia (SEA) proved fruitful.Alibaba-owned Lazada’s chief marketplace officer and cofounder said its Singles' Day campaign is the one it's invested in most for the year — taking priority over Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and other promotional days.
It brought in $123 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) this year during Singles' Day, up 171% YoY, while the number of marketplace orders increased 191% YoY. Although China's sales dwarfed SEA's, the region will be valuable as its e-commerce market expands in the coming years. The event’s success in the region is a positive indicator for future growth.
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