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Alibaba hesitant to release Singles Day results

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By Published On: November 14, 20220 Comments

In the first time since the annual event kicked off in 2009, Alibaba has yet to disclose the final sales tally of the 11:11 Singles Day shopping festival.

While no Singles Day sales numbers have been released to the public, Alibaba said in a statement gross merchandise value was, “in line with last year’s GMV performance despite macro challenges and Covid-related impact.” Last year was its strongest year in the now 14-year history with $84.5 billion in sales. 

While this was a record high for the company, it was the slowest recorded growth at only 8.45 percent from 2020. This trajectory may have slowed completely as the company remains quiet on numbers from this year’s event. 

This year, Alibaba’s Singles Day event took place over eleven days and wrapped up over the weekend with 21 million products on offer to over 1 billion consumers in China.

Sales predictions for this year were positive, with analysts expecting another record breaking event. 

So what was different this year?

In such economic uncertainty, it is the hope by both retailers and consumers that many would get their holiday shopping done in a sales event. When there is growth, you’ll hear Alibaba shouting from the rooftops, so remaining tight-lipped post-event could indicate that the economic landscape in China may have left customers cautious to spend so freely. According to Reuters, consumer sentiment has been hit by stringent COVID-19 curbs and a sharply slowing economy as well as a political emphasis on “common prosperity”.

Alibaba’s Tmall shortened the promotion period by delaying the presales start date to October 24 from 2021’s October 20, followed by two sales periods: October 31 to November 3, and November 10–11. In previous years, the festival has been ushered in by extravagant performances from international celebrities, Taylor Swift performed at the 2019 kick-off ceremony in Shanghai. This year there were no in-person media events to usher in the Singles Day shopping festival, highlighting the restrained hype of the 2022 event. Other key promotional elements were put on the backburner such as the use of traditional celebrity endorsement. Instead, in pursuit of a younger digital savvy audience, there has been a spotlight on young local live streamer influencer endorsements.

Alibaba has come out to say that priorities have shifted this year. There was a focus on customer experience and loyalty by investing in logistics and CX. The company has extended its lowest-price guarantee from the previous 15 days to 27 days, is offering free shipping for returns, and has launched a new feature that allows shoppers to place one order with the ability to ship to multiple addresses. Last year, post Singles Day event Alibaba published a blog post detailing this.  “In the early stages of 11.11, we focused on growth — the same way that parents would focus on a child’s height and strength. But as a child becomes a teenager, the parents shift their focus to nurturing the child’s sense of responsibility: the role he or she plays in society,” Alibaba’s chief marketing officer, Chris Tung, said in the post. “That is what we’re doing now.” 

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About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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