Alibaba Group Holding is expecting 500 million consumers to shop on its Tmall and Taobao online platforms during its “Singles’ Day” shopping festival on November 11 (Monday). Singles Day has also been labeled as China’s Black Friday and is considered a reflection on consumer demand in the world’s most populous country.
The e-commerce giant said that based on its analysis of consumer behavior, media hype and various data sets, that it expects more than 500 million people to participate during the world’s largest single-day shopping event.
Jiang Fan, President of Taobao said that, “We are no longer chasing bigger gross merchandize value (GMV).“We hope this year’s festival will generate social value by attracting more participants.” He added that Alibaba, aimed to stimulate consumption demand and support lifestyle upgrade through new brands and products.
Since the US-China trade wars began in 2018, the Chinese government has sought to increase consumer spending to counter-balance the country’s slowing economy. According to reports for the first half of this year, retail sales were the biggest contributor to the country’s economic expansion and accounted for 60% of the growth.
Since many Chinese are unable or uninterested In many big-ticket items such as cars, the government has placed emphasis on boosting the purchases of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) by the mainland’s rising middle class, who are willing to increase spending on food, cosmetics and clothes as living standards improve.
Eric Han, Senior Manager with Shanghai Suolei, a business advisory firm commented on this year’s Single’s Day projections and said, “If it can really draw 100 million first-time participants in the shopping event, it will help drive further consumption growth as some of the new shoppers, after getting used to buying goods via mobile phones, will increase spending in future.”
Alibaba started the Singles’ Day shopping festival in 2009. The event gets its name from its date, November 11. Written numerically as 11/11, the date looks like “bare branches”, a Chinese expression for the single and unattached.
The first event in 2009 generated $7.5 million USD in sales, whereas the 2018 event generated more than $30.5 billion USD in sales, a 27% increase from 2017. This year’s Singles Day event will see more than 200,000 brands participate, with 1 million new products on sale. Alibaba staff will not give any sales projections, but it is expected that the event could break the $35 billion USD mark.