Alibaba is slipping despite a record-setting Singles Day

Alibaba's Singles' Day Goes Global With Record $25 Billion in Sales

If you hadn't heard, Saturday's Singles' Day sale in China absolutely smashed last year's already phenomenal record, bringing in $25 billion in a day on a single shopping site - Alibaba Taobao. While that's only half the growth rate a year ago, the event still dwarfs others such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Saturday's sale netted Lazada a pretty respectable $123 million in sales, or 6.5 million items, almost three times last year's performance. The dollar figure was up more steeply due to the strength of the yuan against the greenback this year.

"168.2 billion yuan sales is not only a record in China, but also a record worldwide", said Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong.

But like Amazon in the U.S., Alibaba has a strategy to integrate online shopping with brick-and-mortar stores, which still make up 85% of total retail sales, according to the company.

The sheer scale of Singles Day is mind boggling. That total was reached in just 13 hours this year. They can also get goods delivered to their home.

"This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy", Joseph Tsai, Alibaba's co-founder and vice chairman, said.

Chinese consumers have spent billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on "Singles Day", a day of promotions that has grown into the world's biggest e-commerce event.


The final total - more than the GDP of Iceland or Cameroon - leaves other shopping days in the shade.

The company reported a net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders of 1 billion yuan for the quarter, compared with a net loss of 467 million yuan from continuing operations a year earlier.

Investors closely watch the headline number, though some analysts say the way it is calculated is too opaque.

Alibaba has been celebrating the occasion since 2009 by giving incredible and steep discounts to a wide variety of products sold on its platform, Tmall. That investigation is as yet unresolved. The stock has gained over 64 percent this year.

Jack Ma, the Chinese teacher-turned-business tycoon founded the Alibaba in 1999. The sale did though beat his forecast of 20 percent growth. "New Retail helps create a shopping experience that integrates all types of channels".

"They're having to spill over out of the purely online realm into the wider consumer market", Crabbe said. And the best part is that even after the latter being combined could not beat Alibaba's sales. In previous years, prices were often halved.

"I still remember growing up in communist China in the 1970s, when my mother and neighbours would use their ration tickets to buy meat at a state-run store", writes Cindy Sui, a Taiwan-based BBC correspondent who has lived and worked in China for many years.

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