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Singles Day Sales Exceed Expectations

12 November 2019 - 13:26 by Graham Miller

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be big in the West, but China has a different peak online shopping sales event to tempt consumers, and Singles Day was more impactful than ever this year.

BBC News reports that shoppers spent £23 billion in less than 24 hours, with major celebrity figures, including US pop star Taylor Swift, recruited to help retailers promote their offers.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba managed to rake in almost £1 billion in the first minute of the event going live in 2019. This is especially impressive given that Singles Day was only dreamt up a decade ago, showing just how powerful the allure of safe shopping online has become.

Although more money was spent this year than in any previous period, it seems that the rate of growth was actually a little lower than seen in 2018, with China’s e-commerce market reaching maturity and thus having less room to expand.

200,000 different retailers and brands jumped on the Singles Day bandwagon, although some analysts had cautioned that there may be some reluctance amongst Chinese shoppers when it came to choosing products created by American firms. In spite of this, there was no clear sign of such a significant slowdown occurring, showing that international political issues may not ultimately have much of an influence over consumer decisions, at least in the context of a major sales event like this.

Alibaba is the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, with many arguing that it could even threaten to eclipse the US retailer in Western markets if current growth trends continue. The strength of Amazon’s brand in the UK will no doubt make this a challenge, but with Singles Day showing the potential that Alibaba has unlocked in China it would be churlish to ignore the possibility of strong international expansion.