Retail in Asia

In Shops

Alibaba gears up for ‘Singles Day 2016’

British actor Daniel Craig (L3) and Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma (R3) attend the ceremony of 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival November 10, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress)

In seven years of increasingly successful sales, Singles Day has eclipsed its humble origins as an antidote to Valentine’s Day. Alibaba founder Jack Ma has turned the day into one of the biggest shopping events in China.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang called Singles Day “the global retail benchmark over the past seven years.” He said he plans to raise the bar once again with more than three weeks of marketing and promotions ahead of the actual day.

A multi-day event

Much like Black Friday, Singles Day has evolved far beyond a one-day event — especially as shoppers increasingly seek deals in advance of established shopping holidays.

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“From today through November 11, consumers will discover, explore, play, watch, comment, share, recommend and shop across our entire ecosystem with our merchants both online and offline,” Zhang said in prepared remarks.

Virtual and augmented reality

On its corporate blog, the company said it also added virtual reality and augmented reality-based selling opportunities for sellers on its Tmall marketplace.

Much has been made of a consumer spending slowdown in China, but it remains healthy by the standards of other economies and is unlikely to get in the way of Singles Day’s success this year.

Trouble is, the massive red-letter event will likely benefit sales of counterfeit items — something that Alibaba has struggled to contain — to the consternation of brands and the U.S. and Chinese governments.

Rapid growth expected

Despite its already significant scale, Alibaba continues to grow rapidly: The company said in June it expects revenues to grow 48% in 2017, thanks in part to its acquisitions of Chinese video site Youku Tudou and Singapore-based e-commerce business Lazada.

Alibaba expects gross merchandise volume (GMV) to reach 6 trillion yuan ($912 billion) in fiscal 2020, nearly double the 3.09 trillion yuan reported in fiscal 2016, and that it will almost double its transaction volumes over that time.

(Source: Retail Dive)