Alibaba hit a new record with its Singles Day shopping festival on Nov. 11, generating sales of $25.3 billion, 40 percent above the score reached a year ago. The event is a much bigger replica of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions that are becoming common in the Western world.
Using mobile devices for more than 90 percent of their purchases, customers bought local and foreign products from a selection of 15 million items offered by 140,000 vendors, the company said.
The products sold ranged from duck eggs produced in Shandong province to branded products by Nike, Uniqlo or Nestlé.
Adidas alone reached sales of more than $100 million in China through the promotion.
The huge sale was partly successful because of a strong element of emotional entertainment, which has been recognized as an increasingly important element of the shopping experience by retailers worldwide. Celebrities like Maria Sharapova, Pharrell Williams and Nicole Kidman, the Australian actress, spiced up the event on television and through the social networks. Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, helped promote the event by starring in a martial arts movie.
Commenting on the “upgrading of consumption in China, » the group's management confirmed Alibaba's plans to change the customer experience by blending online shopping and physical stores. The company is planning to open its own stationary shopping mall in Hangzhou, near its head office, during the first part of next year.
Alibaba Group Holding reported a particularly strong 61 percent jump in sales to RMB 55.12 billion (€7.1bn-$8.3bn) for the quarter to Sept. 30, including a rise of 63 percent to RMB 46.46 billion (€6.0bn-$7.0bn) in revenues from the Chinese online giant's core e-commerce business, comprising Taobao and Tmall.
The group's net income more than doubled to RMB 17.41 billion (€2.3bn-$2.6bn) for the quarter, which is the second in its fiscal year. The company said that the increase was supported by ongoing investments in research and logistics, as well as growing integration between online and stationary retailing, for instance through partnerships with large malls or Alibaba's acquisition of a stake in a supermarket and an electronics retailer.
Sales were on the rise for other activities as well, such as cloud computing, media and entertainment. Alibaba has raised its forecast for the full fiscal year until the end of March, predicting a sales increase of 49 to 53 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 45 to 49 percent. Alibaba boasted 488 million active customers for its Chinese marketplaces on an annualized basis, up by 22 percent.