11 November 2020 16:32

Singles' Day Remembrance Day The Royal British Legion

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba raked in more than $56bn (£42bn) in sales on annual shopping blitz Singles' Day as consumers splashed online instead of travelling abroad. Alibaba said more than 2 million products had featured in its Singles' Day sale, an event which has almost become a national holiday in China and eclipses Black Friday and Cyber Monday for scale. During the event, which was first launched in 2009, the ecommerce site slashes the price of many items and also allows consumers to play mobile games to get the best discounts. This year, Alibaba kicked off its sales earlier, running from November 1 until today, to allow more brands to get exposure for their sales. Alibaba's Singles' Day event is known to feature famous artists, with Taylor Swift last year performing at its opening.

Other sites such as JD.com and Douyin, the Chinese version of viral video app TikTok, also hold their own Singles' Day events. JD.com, an ecommerce rival to Alibaba, said it had also set record sales figures for the event. This year's event comes as the Chinese economy continues to recover from the pandemic, with official figures released last month suggesting the economy was up 4.9pc between July and September compared to the same period last year. Singles' Day tops £42bn in sales both at home and abroad – but Beijing is looking to clip online monopolies' wings Singles's Day 2020 has beaten all records, notching up £42bn in sales across its official 24 hour run, benefiting both domestic Chinese and overseas merchants. However, Alibaba – the marketplace behind the event – saw its share price drop as the Chinese government announced plans to curb what it sees as excessive monopolisation in the Chinese marketplace market.

The sales festival, which was launched in 2006 as the antithesis of Valentines' Day, saw sales way ahead of last year's £30bn, driven by increased spending by shoppers forced to stay home because of the pandemic. This year's event, which was kicked-off in style by throaty warbler Katy Perry, also saw a boom in live-streamed video shopping, as well as offering shoppers mini-games to play on the platform while they shopped. According to Alibaba's initial figures, more than 100 brands, including Nike, Adidas, Apple, L'Oréal, Estée Lauder and Lancôme, achieved RMB100m (£11.4bn)in gross merchandise volume (GMV) only 111 minutes into the first sales period. Beauty products – always a popular category during the 11.11 festival – generated more than RMB10bn (£1.14bn) in GMV and exceeded 150% year-over-year sales growth in the first hour of the event. 34 new cutting-edge brands in the beauty category also achieved more than RMB10m (£1.14bn) in sales in a single day.

Tmall Global's first day pre-sale GMV growth increased by 90% YonY. Awareness of Singles' Day has grown in recent years around the world and, as this year's figures suggest, it is now more international than ever. While lesser known than other discounting events such as Black Friday and Boxing Day, awareness of Singles' Day is steadily growing in the UK. Awareness is higher amongst consumers in Germany (21.3%) and The Netherlands (20.5%), however UK shoppers are set to spend the most of all European consumers on discounted items this Singles' Day. Unsurprisingly, online sales are set to make up 92.8% of total UK sales this Singles' Day (£1,333.3m), as consumers take advantage of online offers during lockdown. According to research commissioned by VoucherCodes.co.uk and carried out by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), UK shoppers are set to spend 11.8% more on Singles' Day this year than last, buying around £1.4bn of goods.

In Germany, growth of 0.2% sees Singles' Day spend just shy of £1bn at £989m. Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk comments: "With the success of Black Friday and the post-Christmas Sales, it's unsurprising to see that Single's Day is starting to gain traction with consumers here in the UK - us Brits love a discount. Singles' Day is a great opportunity to get a head start on Christmas shopping, as some retailers may be offering similar online discounts to those you can expect on Black Friday. The excitement around this year's record-breaking Singles' Day has been tempered, however, with an announcement by the Chinese government that it is proposing new regulations aimed at curbing the power of its biggest internet companies. SINGAPORE – The demand for imported items by Chinese consumers is not as strong as before, according to a partner in management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. "It remains a strong appeal, but there is less appeal for imported products than there was the year before," said Jacques Penhirin, retail and consumer goods partner at the company's Greater China office. That's also the case for electronics, where Chinese brands have made a "very strong push." He pointed out that there is a "kind of a shift in consumer demand in a way that (importing) is not the only recipe." "I think it's just more confidence, the confidence in Chinese brands that has been built over the years," he said, noting that more good quality products are being made in China. So China can make good products." Penhirin acknowledged that nationalistic sentiment may play a part, but said it isn't the "main reason" for weaker demand for imported goods. Penhirin's comments came during the Singles Day shopping extravaganza, one of the largest online shopping festivals in the world that started in China. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said sales hit a record 372.3 billion yuan ($56.26 billion) as of 12:30 a.m. Beijing time on Wednesday, while JD.com said transaction volumes on its platform was 200 billion yuan as of 12:09 a.m. The strong sales figures are not due to "revenge" buying, but remain linked to the coronavirus crisis, Penhirin said. "It's more like we need to spend because we have saved money and we can't travel." He added that consumer confidence in China is high.