11 November, 2014

Alibaba says Singles Day shoppers spend $2 billion in first hour

Alibaba sold $2 billion of goods in the first hour of its Singles Day shopping bonanza in China Tuesday, the firm said, maintaining its dominance as the world's biggest retail event as it went global for the first time.

The ecommerce giant said the amount its marketplaces shifted amounted more than a third of the $5.8 billion full-day sales recorded on the same day last year.

Alibaba has been pushing November 11 as Singles Day -- so named for the number of ones in the date -- since 2009 as it looks to tap an expanding army on Internet shoppers in China, which has the world's biggest online population.

Singles Day already surpassed major shopping festivals in the US in terms of transaction value last year, toppling the combined sales of $3.7 billion recorded on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to an estimate by Internet analytics firm comScore.

The day was originally marketed as an "anti-Valentine's Day" in China featuring hefty discounts to lure the country's singletons and price-sensitive buyers.

It has been expanded globally this year to include overseas merchants and customers.

Within the first hour and 12 seconds, more than 12.23 billion yuan ($2 billion) of deals were settled on both domestic and international retail marketplaces, Alibaba said in a statement, adding that 45.7 per cent of the transactions were made via mobile devices.

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