Alibaba sales for its post-COVID-19 Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza have hit $US74 billion ($A102 billion), a haul that was overshadowed by a 10 per cent drop in its shares after China published draft anti-trust rules aimed at internet platforms.
The world’s biggest sales event – eclipsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States – spanned 11 days this year, and brought sellers on AliBaba’s platforms 21 times as many orders by value as Amazon.com Inc’s two-day global Prime Day last month.
Such is its size that its performance is widely considered indicative of China’s post-virus economic recovery.
Alibaba rivals JD.com Inc and Pinduoduo Inc as well as firms such as Douyin – the Chinese version of Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd’s TikTok – also held Singles’ Day events.
“Because of COVID-19, many Chinese cannot go overseas,” Vice President Liu Bo told reporters.
“This actually stimulates online consumption.”
Alibaba gave shoppers more time to shop this year, setting primary discount days for November 1 through November 3 as well as the usual November 11, and is calculating gross merchandise volume (GMV) over all 11 days.
GMV hit 498.2 billion yuan ($A101.8 billion) Alibaba said as lockdown-weary consumers splashed out on as many as 16 million discounted goods at the event.
JD.com, which started promotions on November 1, said it generated 271.5 billion yuan in trade over the same period.
The performance provided little relief for Alibaba investors as they focused on the proposed anti-monopoly rules that could increase scrutiny on e-commerce marketplaces and payment services.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Hong Kong-listed shares closed 9.8 per cent down, in line with other Chinese tech giants.
The group lost about 10 per cent of its market value last week when regulators scuppered the listing of fintech affiliate Ant Group.
The event, launched in 2009, is usually a glitzy, single-day affair with live performances.
Last year, it clocked record GMV of $US38.4 billion.
This year, US singer Katy Perry appeared at Alibaba’s gala, albeit via livestream.
As well as offering straightforward price cuts, the event allowed shoppers across Alibaba’s platforms to play mobile games for deals, combine purchases across shops and place orders in the sale’s early hours to get the best offers.
More than 340 firms, including Apple Inc, L’Oreal SA and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, exceeded 100 million yuan in sales, with 13 brands recording GMV of more than 1 billion yuan, Alibaba said.
Analysts also expect this year to be a boon for luxury brands, as consumers accustomed to going overseas for high-end goods have been thwarted by coronavirus border closures.
But many shoppers had modest budgets.
A poll of Singles’ Day spending by Sina Entertainment indicated just 4.0 per cent of 191,000 respondents planned to splurge over 10,000 yuan ($A2070), versus 43 per cent who aimed to spend less than 1000 yuan.