China’s Singles Day Festival Culminates with Strong E-Commerce Sales Growth

China’s leading e-commerce players, Alibaba Group and, have reported robust year-on-year growth as the Singles Day sales period concludes. While Alibaba disclosed positive sales without specific details, celebrated record-breaking sales volumes.

According to data from Syntun, a trusted provider, cumulative gross merchandise volume (GMV) across major e-commerce platforms increased by 2.08%, reaching an impressive 1.14 trillion yuan ($156.40 billion). This growth, although slightly lower than the previous year’s 2.9%, underscores the enduring strength of the Singles Day festival, originally a 24-hour online shopping event held annually on November 11.

Transforming into weeks of promotions, both online and in physical stores across China, Singles Day remains a crucial barometer of consumer confidence despite economic challenges.

Alibaba strategically compelled merchants to adopt aggressive pricing, offering 80 million products at their steepest discounts of the year on platforms like Tmall and Taobao. This strategic move was seen as a response to the evolving landscape of Chinese e-commerce, with competitors like Douyin and Pinduoduo reshaping the market by consistently offering lower-cost items.

During this year’s Singles Day, discounts ranging from 40% to 50% prevailed, indicating a departure from previous years. Although consumer surveys suggested a conservative spending approach, analysts anticipated a return to double-digit growth in Singles Day GMV across platforms, marking the first such growth since the pandemic’s onset.

Top-performing sectors included health and wellness, outdoor lifestyle products, and globally recognized brands like Nike and Lululemon. Alibaba reported a remarkable 300% surge in road bike sales within the first hour of the festival.

As consumer habits continue to adapt, certain sectors, such as color cosmetics, faced challenges due to persistently low makeup demand nearly a year after China lifted strict COVID-19 restrictions.

While reported GMV figures reflect the total value of orders placed, high return rates are expected as consumers take advantage of larger discounts, subsequently returning unnecessary items.

As the curtain falls on Singles Day 2023, the comprehensive sales picture will gradually emerge, providing valuable insights into evolving consumer preferences and the resilience of China’s dynamic e-commerce landscape.

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