Alibaba booms on Singles Day

Chinese marketplace Alibaba has already seen record sales, part way through the annual Global Shopping Day (also known as Singles Day). 130 million users have already visited the Mobile Taobao app set up by Alibaba, and $5bn of GMV has passed through the Alipay system in the first 90 minutes of the 11.11 shopping festival that began earlier today.

By comparison, global e-commerce on Singles Day 2014 saw $9.3bn in sales total, suggesting that the 2015 festival will be much better than last year. Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba said, “This year, Alibaba Group has transformed 11.11 into an unprecedented mobile shopping experience. Over the course of the 24-hour shopping marathon, consumers will have a new surprise every hour that has been especially tailored for mobile users. The whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption this November 11.”

Comparable shopping bonanzas such as Black Friday won’t even compare to the volume of sales made in China today. Last year, the UK’s Black Friday saw £800 million ($1.2bn) of sales and may hit £1bn ($1.5bn) this year with much more preparation and hype in advance.

China’s economy has been experiencing a much reported slowdown but where a slowdown for a Western economy may be worrying, China’s economy has been slowing down from double digit growth to high, single digit growth. As such though it is no longer growing faster than any other economy on Earth, times are very good for the Chinese consumer. The growing middle classes have a lot of liquid assets and can afford to spend money when they will, though there is a culture of savings rather than debt in the general population unlike the West where indebtedness is one of the drivers of many economies.

If figures are as good as they have been reported, Singles Day 2015 could be one to remember as the Chinese economic dragon roars for the whole world to hear. For Western manufacturers and retailers, selling their goods to the Chinese market will be a very good move indeed.