Alibaba expects mega-shopping event to top previous ones

E-commerce giant Alibaba said the 10th anniversary of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in Beijing will be the largest-ever in scale and reach.

Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group CEO, said the shopping festival, widely known as Singles’ Day, has enabled Alibaba to become a “leader in creating the kind of lifestyle consumers want.”

“On the back of China’s explosive digital transformation, the festival’s astounding growth over the past decade has powered the steady rise in quality consumption sought by Chinese shoppers,” Zhang said.

“The evolution also showcases the development of the Alibaba ecosystem over time, expanding well beyond e-commerce.”

Alibaba did not offer any forecast for this year’s sales as it kicked off the event on Friday in Beijing, China, where Zhang outlined how the company’s “new retail” strategy, which melds the online and offline consumer retail experiences through technology, will help make this year’s event be the largest ever “in terms of scale and reach.”

The shopping festival, which takes places on November 11, is Alibaba’s day of having sales across all of its platforms and has been compared to Black Friday in the United States.

Alibaba announced this year that Tmall will offer 500,000 items for pre-order, which started last Saturday, and customers can access promotional coupons via Mobile Taobao and Mobile Tmall. Around 180,000 brands from China and around the world will participate in the event. Tmall Global provides 3700 categories of imported goods from 75 countries and regions on its platform.

This year, the event will include around 200,000 smart stores in China across apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, beauty products, automobile and home décor, which are predicted to boost traffic to offline and online shopping destinations.

Alibaba added that Tmall World, AliExpress and Lazada will help bring the event to hundreds of millions of overseas users. Lazada will host the first 11.11 Shopping Festival for customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The Chinese e-commerce giant stated the event brought in $7.8 million in gross merchandise value when it was started in 2009. Last year, GMV totaled $25.3 billion. In that same time period, according to Alibaba, China has seen its number of internet users surge to 802 million, with 98 per cent of them on mobile.

As 11.11 heads toward its second decade, Zhang said Alibaba is just getting started.

“In grand scheme of things, this is just the beginning. In the next five to 10 years, surely the internet will change, and thus we will have to innovate new ways to serve our customers,” he said.

This story first appeared on our sister site Inside Retail Australia.

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