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Alibaba Group keeps rather mum on Singles' Day sales for first time

Alibaba Group keeps rather mum on Singles' Day sales for first time

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In a rather unconventional move, Alibaba Group did not release full sales results for its annual Singles Day event for the first time this year. The Chinese eCommerce giant simply said the sales results were in line with last year where it generated RMB 540.3 billion in gross merchandise volume.

According to Alibaba news, the event saw the use of virtual influencers, and placed emphasis on rewards programs.

It added that over 290,000 brands from over 90 countries and regions across 7,000 product categories were featured and in the first four hours of the second check-out window, which started at 8pm on November 10, more than 130 brands surpassed RMB100 million in member-generated GMV.

Alibaba also added that more than 5,600 brands saw their member-generated GMV more than double compared with the first four hours of last year’s second check-out window.

Chui Xue, president of industry development and operation center of Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba Group said, the priority for this 11.11 was to enhance certainty for merchants’ operation.

“We are pleased to have helped our participating brands and merchants accumulate new loyal customers during the festival which will serve as a strong foundation for their sustainable operation,” said Chui. Chui added that the company was also “encouraged to see an emergence of new consumption trends with huge untapped potential”.

“We will continue to innovate and strengthen our capabilities to provide our merchants with reliable opportunities for long-term growth and make concerted efforts to meet consumers’ evolving needs,” Chui said.

In an earlier prediction made by Forrester Principal Analyst Xiaofeng Wang, she shared that chasing high GMV is no longer the focus. Instead, improving customer experience and loyalty is key. In line with the trend, Alibaba also invested in service and logistics. The company extended its lowest-price guarantee timeframe, offered free shipping for returns, and launched a new feature that allows shoppers to place one order with the ability to ship to multiple addresses.

“Both retailers and brands have learned the importance of loyal customers, particularly in major shopping events like Double 11. In many cases, loyal members have contributed 40% of GMV,” said Wang. Alibaba is also providing exclusive offers for its own 88VIP loyalty program members. As of June 2022, the annual spending average of over 2 million members’ has reached 57,000 yuan (US$7,858).

Mohammed Sirajuddeen, commerce lead, growth markets, Accenture Song explained that inflationary environments this year have added caution to consumer sentiment. As consumer confidence rattle, brands will find themselves with increased expectations from consumers as they count on them to hold their hands in purchasing decisions. Chasing down new shopping channels or strategising for holiday shopping moments will not be enough, he added. Commerce is constantly evolving and brands struggle with a here-today, gone-tomorrow environment.

“Selling across more channels or having celebrities and influencers diversify their e-commerce appearances across multiple platforms would not magically increase sales. Adapting to consumers’ uniqueness is the crux,” he said. Moving away from just commerce, forward thinking brands need to build a digital commerce ecosystem that scales everywhere and supports omnichannel buying.

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