Alibaba’s annual orgy of consumption

With an opening concert from pop star Katy Perry and an appearance by former basketball player Kobe Bryant, China’s Singles Day sale — Alibaba’s annual orgy of consumption — kicks off this week with more glitz and money than ever before. The 24-hour sale, which takes place on November 11 (more graphically, 11.11) was not invented by Alibaba but the ecommerce group has made it a fixture of the retail calendar. Now the company plans to use the brouhaha around the event to launch itself beyond mainland China. As a China-only event, Singles Day has already blown America’s Black Friday out of the water. Alibaba turned over $14.3 billion on November 11 last year, compared to the $11.1 billion spent online in the US over the whole five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, which includes Black Friday when retailers kick off the holiday season with big discounts. The company… is launching a pilot programme targeting Singles Day shoppers in Hong Kong and Taiwan for the first time. Next year it plans to target Southeast Asia.

Louise Lucas

 

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