Alibaba’s Singles Day sales dwarf Amazon’s biggest day

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There has been a 27 percent year-on-year rise over 2017 accrued total of $25.3 million following Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales. Singles Day is an informal holiday always held on the 11/11. This has become in the recent years, a bigger Chinese shopping day than Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  

Alibaba’s 10th annual Singles Day sale was conducted on the 11th of November and it racked up a total of $30.8 million in sales. According to CNBC, this has set a new record for the platform.

This 27 percent increase was helped by the e-commerce giant’s expansion into in-store retail as well as China’s large and tech-savvy middle class.

It can be said that the figure gotten from this year’s sale dwarfs revenue from all other major shopping days of some US retailers. Although Amazon does not report exact numbers, it is estimated that the Amazon’s Prime Day sale which is their biggest day of the year generated $4 billion with the sales of 100 million items in over 17 countries. It is also estimated that the Black Friday weekend generated a total of $14.05 billion in online sales for 4,500 US retail websites in such a short time (over the course of four days). Out of this, $6.59 billion of the sales were accrued from Cyber Monday.

In comparing the two e-commerce giants, Amazon is seen as more of a traditional retailer than Alibaba. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is better thought of as a platform that caters for everything from health supplements, small appliances, and takeout apps to supermarkets and even to film production.

Despite all of these, there remains reasons to be skeptical of these astronomical figures. As at now, there is no standardized way of measuring Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). Thus, this allows retailers to include orders that were never actually delivered. The figures do not actually reflect true revenue and a whole number of factors could change the figures. Alibaba’s report of their sales is based on GMV, which according to Bloomberg, is not a reliable metric as it does not seem to correlate with revenue.

A lot of disputes over the validity of the GMV matter abound and they matter because of the challenges Chinese retailers are facing. There are worries about the possibility of government intervention in tech companies as the country’s economy is in a difficult state (in the midst of a slowdown). Customers will likely tighten their purse strings as a result of economic downturn.

Another contributing factor to this is the ongoing trade war the country has with the US. Although this year’s sale may have broken albeit a numerous and one records; the GMV growth slowing down to a 27 percent year-on-year (down from 39 percent of the previous year despite the fact that the target is larger each year) is most certainly a peek at the fact that the shopping holiday’s exceeding growth rate might not last.

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