Matthew Miller
Nov 11, 2020

Alibaba touts $56 billion in sales after 30 minutes of Singles Day

Thirteen brands surpassed US$150 million in sales by 12:35 am on Singles Day, according to Alibaba. Also, see Katy Perry's "appearance" and a new fleet of autonomous delivery robot vehicles.

Alibaba touts $56 billion in sales after 30 minutes of Singles Day

Alibaba claims total GMV (gross merchandise volume) reached RMB 372.3 billion (US$56.3 billion) after the first 30 minutes of Singles Day.

This surpasses last year's total of $38 billion in the entire 24-hour period, although observers noted that the company introduced a longer presale period and added in revenue from services not previously counted.

Alibaba also said that from midnight on November 1, when the first shopping window opened, to 12:35 am this morning, 13 brands surpassed RMB 1 billion (US$151.7 million) in GMV. In addition, 342 brands, including Apple, L’Oréal, Haier, Estée Lauder, Nike, Huawei, Midea, Lancôme, Xiaomi and Adidas each surpassed RMB 100 million (US$15.2 million) in GMV, according to Alibaba.

Here's Katy

As promised Katy Perry "appeared" virtually during a gala broadcast Tuesday night, where she "performed" a medley of “Never Really Over,” “Not the End of the World” and “Roar.” (Further details were not released, so there's no way to tell whether Perry actually performed in real-time in a remote location or was in fact asleep in her bed in the US when her "appearance" took place.)

Top 10 countries placing orders:

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. France
  4. Malaysia
  5. Singapore
  6. Spain
  7. Australia
  8. Korea
  9. Japan
  10. Canada

I, for one, welcome our robot delivery overlords

Alibaba's logistics unit, Cainiao, touted robotic delivery vehicle in a video released yesterday. A fleet of the 'XiaomanLV' units has been delivering packages at Zhejiang University since November 1 and is expected to deliver 30,000 package by the end of this year’s 11.11.


Earlier updates: November 10:

Alibaba's Singles Day sale officially kicks off at midnight tonight, following Katy Perry's headline appearance in the sixth-annual 11.11 Gala, taking place at 7:30 pm at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai (although Perry's appearance is sure to be virtual). The gala will be broadcast on Youku, Taobao Live, Dragon TV and Zhejiang Television, and will be made available in more than 200 countries and regions around the world. 

Singles Day this year includes two sales windows: The first ran from November 1 through 3, and generated some impressive numbers. The second is the 24 hours of November 11. There were also two 'presale' periods: October 21 through 31 and November 4 through 10.

Jennifer Ye, PwC's mainland China consumer markets leader, says to expect strong results from the festival because consumer confidence in China has resumed, the digital transformation of new retail has accelerated and "revenge buying"—to make up for lost shopping time during the pandemic—is a real thing.

"Despite the impact from Covid-19, we expect Singles Day sales to grow further this year with more intense competition between sellers," she said. "The shopping festival may become the barometer of the Mainland’s economic recovery.”

Here's some big numbers (mainly provided by Alibaba) to give you a sense of what to expect from this year's double-11 festival.

800,000,000: Number of consumers expected to participate.

2,000,000: Number of new products expected to debut on Tmall.

250,000: Number of brands participating.

200: Number of luxury brands participating.

16,000,000: Number of discounted products available.

400, 300: Number of company executives and celebrities, respectively, conducting livestreams on 11.11.

9,100,000,000: Sales, in RMB, that Alibaba’s two top livestreamers surpassed in just two days of presales, equal to US$1.38 billion. 

600,000: Number of packages sold during presales by Accor, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, InterContinental, Shangri-La and other five-star hotels. This includes 28,000 vouchers for two-night stays at 80 hotels under Hyatt and more than 25,000 nationwide passes for Hilton.

300: Number of brands that surpassed their results from last year on October 21, the first day of the year's presales period.

10: Number of minutes it took for presale transactions on Taobao Live to exceed the entire first-day presales performance of last year.

30: Number of minutes it took for Taobao Live presale transactions to surpass RMB 50 billion (US$7.49 billion), marking a 400% year-over-year increase.

100: Number of airplanes that could be filled by buyers of a Hainan Airlines flexible flight package sold during a two-hour livestream by the airline's flight attendants.

3000: Year-over-year percentage increase in inventories of imported cosmetics for men.

200: Year-over-year percentage increase in inventories of imported pet food.

800,000: Number of special offers on housing units available, with discounts reaching more than RMB 1 million (US$149,950).

Outreach to international brands

Alibaba launched Go Global Pitch Fest, an initiative designed to help US-based SMEs expand globally. Nine winning brands were selected to launch on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border marketplace to sell to China, and will be highlighted during the festival.

One of the winners, Uncle Bud’s, is offering hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) products to Chinese consumers through a newly opened Tmall Global flagship store. Brand ambassador Earvin “Magic” Johnson conducted a livestreaming session on Tmall Global on November 7.

Johnson will also appear on a live virtual event, 'Understanding 11.11: Alibaba’s Mega Shopping Festival', which aims to help Western businesses get up to speed on how to succeed in China's ecommerce markets. In addition to Johnson, the event, slated for 10:30 am EST Wednesday, will feature Alibaba Group executives Joe Tsai (executive vice chairman) and Michael Evans (president), along with Diane von Furstenberg and representatives from Fender and Bissell.

Green day?

Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao reports that "almost 100%" of the packaging shipped from its
warehouses is biodegradable, and nearly 50% of the paper packaging in its warehouses is tape-free.

Cainiao has also set up 80,000 recycling stations across China where consumers can redeem “green energy” points on the Cainiao app.

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