Consumers worldwide snapped up everything from food to electronics to beauty goods Wednesday as retailers slashed prices for the largest ‘double 11’ online shopping bonanza, closely eyed by analysts this year for deeper insight on post-pandemic consumer sentiment.
The marathon spending spree on the annual “Single’s Day” — so-called for its name-serving 11.11 date — has for more than a decade seen China’s army of shoppers shell out colossal amounts of cash, and 2020 looks to be no exception.
Conceived in 2009 by Alibaba as an antidote to Valentine’s Day, the event falls on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and was meant to be an occasion for individuals to treat themselves to something new.
While the day has long been touted as a 24-hour event, e-commerce giant Alibaba has expanded it to an 11-day promotion beginning November 1, with the platform having already raking in some 372.3 billion yuan ($56.5 billion) in sales since. That’s more than the GDP of Iceland, Lebanon and Georgia combined.
Leading China retailers such as Alibaba, JD.com, and Pinduoduo compete aggressively for Single’s Day, which far outstrips the pre-Christmas “Black Friday” promotion in the United States.
Amazon.ae following the trend has stepped into the scene with its “Shop deals and save more” 11.11 sale in the MENA region, with brightly coloured ads popping across the United Arab Emirates. The three-day sale, launched on Nov 10 to span till the end Nov 12, cuts the tag on fashion, electronics and home appliances.
The sale also comes amidst a crackdown by EU on the American retail giant’s business practices, issuing charges against the company’s alleged distortion of competition on digital fronts.
On a similar note, Chinese regulators have cast a gloom over the country’s biggest e-commerce stretch of the year by announcing draft antitrust rules that signal a looming fall for the high-flying internet giants.
The rules published on Tuesday outlined plans to prevent “monopolistic behaviour” among internet companies, which tend to develop captive ecosystems.
Alibaba’s Taobao platform, for example, supports payments via its own Alipay rather, but not the WeChat Pay technology of rival Tencent.
This year’s shopping is being closely followed around the world as a guide to the state of China’s crucial consumer sector, which is increasingly more important to the future of the world’s biggest economy.
As the country emerges from the effects of the virus and tight lockdowns, the recovery in retail sales has lagged compared to those in industrial sectors, but is steadily gaining pace, analysts said.
“Single’s Day” originally focused on sales of certain items like beauty products and electronics, but e-commerce in China has in recent years expanded to include just about anything a consumer might purchase, including groceries, as digitally savvy Chinese opt for the convenience of online shopping.
Last year, “Single’s Day” sales on Alibaba platforms alone for the 24-hour period totalled $38.4 billion.
[Sourced from Agencies]