Singles’ Day sales hit 35 bln

By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-12 1:08:01

Workers sort parcels, most of which are online shopping orders, at a dispatch center of delivery company SF Express, on November 11, known as Singles' Day, in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: IC

Workers sort parcels, most of which are online shopping orders, at a dispatch center of delivery company SF Express, on November 11, known as Singles' Day, in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: IC

Read more in Daily Special(s): Four 'single' ones: happy signal for online retailers

The Alibaba Group, which owns China's largest online shopping platforms and, announced on Tuesday that it had achieved record sales of 35 billion yuan ($5.75 billion) on Monday's Singles' Day, initially created by young people to celebrate their loneliness.

Fireworks were lit at the e-commerce giant's headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province after online transactions reached 30 billion yuan at about 9:20 pm.

Tens of millions of shoppers stayed up on Sunday night, poised to pounce on their favorite items, as the day's sales officially started just after midnight.

In just one hour, Alibaba's online transactions reached 1 billion yuan.

In less than nine hours, revenue amounted to 12.1 billion yuan ($1.98 billion). This figure was similar to one cited by the Adobe Digital Index, which used the figure in a report of total online sales in the US on Cyber Monday, the first Monday following Thanksgiving.

Some 13 hours into the day, sales figures had already reached 19.1 billion, the same amount as the 24-hour total of last year's Singles' Day.

Many items claimed to be 50 percent off, some even 90 percent off. The most popular items sold on Singles' Day included underwear, diapers, baby milk formula, mobile phones and home appliances.

One of the largest single deals was made by a female consumer in East China's Zhejiang Province, who paid 5 million yuan as a deposit for a 13.3-carat diamond worth 20.50 million yuan on

Smartphone producer Xiaomi was the first to achieve 100 million yuan of sales revenue among all retailers on, followed by insurance firms Guohua Life and Sino Life, as well as home appliance maker Haier and menswear chain Jack & Jones, according to data provided by Tmall.

Another e-commerce giant,, is expected to surpass 5 million orders on this year's Singles' Day, the company said in a statement on Monday, without disclosing specific sales revenue. has also launched an online shopping promotion campaign since Friday, but had not released any sales data by press time.

Not everyone has had a happy experience in the shopping rush, though. Some complained that the huge discounts were based on marked-up prices. Others grumbled that slowed-down Internet speeds made it difficult to place orders and confirm bill payments - Tmall reported up to 17 million consumers online at peak time on Monday.

"A lot of items in my online shopping cart were sold out within a few seconds after Midnight," Xi Yang, a 26-year-old consumer in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"For those items that are still available for purchase, the discounts are not as much as I expected, so I felt a little disappointed," she said.

The final sales figure was beyond Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma Yun's estimation, who earlier predicted the sales revenue for the whole day would stay at around 30 billion yuan.

"What I am most concerned about now is not how to boost consumer demand, but how to match up purchasing power with logistics and financial systems as well as after-sales services," Ma said in an interview with China Central Television broadcast on Sunday.

The large number of orders has put pressure on the domestic express delivery industry. The China Express Association estimated that about 323 million packages generated on Singles' Day would be delivered by Saturday.

"It means up to 70 million packages need to be handled every day during the period, but normally the domestic express delivery industry can handle just half of that volume," Xu Yong, chief consultant with China Express and Logistics Consulting, told the Global Times on Monday.

There are also concerns that consumer spending is amplified on Singles' Day but that customers will tighten their belts in the following months.

"The online sales revenue on Singles' Day, although impressive, still accounts for a small proportion of China's total retail sales, which stayed at 2.15 trillion yuan in October," said Song Yang, a senior analyst at IT consultancy Analysys International.

"Traditional retailers should not just see Singles' Day as a threat, instead, they should look for ways to improve consumers' offline shopping experiences," Song said, noting the trend of the retail industry is an online-to-offline business model, in which the Internet is the first stop for customers to get promotions that then lead them to physical stores.

Graphics: GT

Graphics: GT

Posted in: Business

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