China’s top e-commerce firms saw record Singles’ Day sales

Alibaba and JD closed their 11.11 promos with sales volumes of $85b and $55b, respectively.

China’s biggest e-commerce firms—Alibaba and JD.com—saw record-breaking sales during this year’s Singles’ Day promotions on 11 November amid an ongoing acceleration in online retailing in the Asia-Pacific region over the recent years.

Alibaba closed out its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with $84.54b in gross merchandise volume, the company said in a news release. This year was also its largest edition to date, bringing together at least 900 million Chinese consumers and 290,000 brands.

At the same time,  JD.com’s Singles Day Grand Promotion recorded transaction volume totaling $54.72b (RMB349.1b) by the end of the day. Some 31 brands also surpassed RMB1b ($156.75m) in transaction volume, with Apple hitting over RMB10b ($1.57b).

JD also recorded the most number of merchants and brands in the company’s history, especially in the fashion category. Over 6,000 new apparel brands joined JD’s Singles Day this year, such as Victoria’s Secret, Peace Bird and Bosideng.

A record number of designer brands participated with Alibaba, with more than 200 brands taking part via Tmall Luxury Pavilion, Alibaba’s platform for high-end brands, including Saint Laurent, Max Mara, Thom Browne and Van Cleef & Arpels for the first time.

“The e-commerce environment continues to be very vibrant. China remains an incredibly important market for brands to find growth today but also for growth in the future,” Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said.

Alibaba this year focused on sustainability, putting up a dedicated vertical for eco-friendly, low-impact products for the first time during the 11.11 sales. This helped boost the visibility of 500,000 low-impact products from 2,000-plus merchants, the company said.

Just nine hours into the festival, Alibaba’s platforms sold over 120,000 energy-efficient home appliances. Within the first hour, consumers bought 25,000 water-saving toilets which amount to saving 225 tons of water a day.

“In the early stages of 11.11, we focused on growth—the same way that parents would focus on a child’s height and strength. But as a child becomes a teenager, the parents shift their focus to nurturing the child’s sense of responsibility: the role he or she plays in society. That is what we’re doing now,” the group’s chief marketing officer Chris Tung said.

JD has also been prioritizing other areas of growth beyond sales, such as its recent partnership with Japanese retailer Muji to launch a Seven Fresh fresh food complex in Shanghai that features both a Muji store and a fresh food supermarket.

“Whilst the external audience may be more concerned about the sales figures, we are paying more attention to the stronger and upward force of the industry,” JD Retail CEO Lijun Xin said.

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