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Singles Day sets record for Alibaba, rival JD

Alibaba predictably set a new record for Singles Day gross merchandise volume (GMV) yesterday. 

The company says total sales reached US$74.1 billion, counting the period from when pre-event promotions began on November 1 through to midnight last night – up 26 per cent compared with the same timeframe last year. 

Rival JD, which also started promotions on November 1, said it generated $40.9 billion in trade over the same period.

As has become typical with the annual event, sales on 11.11 reflect a huge amount of pre-negotiated or pre-ordered sales which take effect on the day. For example, orders for 330,000 vehicles were placed on the platform as at 1am yesterday, all based on what Alibaba describes as “an accumulation” which began at midnight on October 31. 

According to Alibaba’s data, more than 470 brands exceeded $15 million in sales and more than 30 live-streaming channels on Taobao Live each broke the same barrier. 

“Over the past 12 years, innovation has been at the heart of 11.11 and along the way it became a global consumer festival. 11.11 is defined by our consumers, merchants and our partners across the ecosystem, and also a beneficiary of all the support from society,” said Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall.

“We will continue to focus on developing our digital infrastructure in the service of empowering merchants of all sizes to find a path to success in the digital economy.”

Alibaba says its digital infrastructure processed some 583,000 orders per second during peak times, and its Cainiao Network processed more than 2.32 billion delivery orders cumulatively over the 11 days.

The total GMV figure included the value of orders settled through Alipay on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces, Kaola, Lazada, AliExpress, and New Retail and consumer services platforms from November 1 to November 11. 

Besides consumer consumables, fashion and motor vehicles, Alibaba platforms offered 800,000 real estate properties across 300 cities in China this year. During a presale period from October 22 to 31, more than 40 million users viewed the real estate listings with 40 per cent of them aged 30 or younger. The company did not disclose how many properties were sold. 

The turnover also included restaurant vouchers redeemable on Alibaba’s platform and 100,000 airline packages valid for up to six months. 

Across Asia and beyond, most marketplace platforms ran 11.11 promotions to cash in on the awareness built by Alibaba on the phenomenon, and many brands promoted special discounts for the day as well. 

Shopee, which operates in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, said it recorded 20 million visits to its platform in the first hour of Singles Day. 

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