Internet giant Alibaba broke its own sales record of 14.3 billion dollars during China's "Singles Day" 24-hour online shopping binge on Friday, defying fears of an economic slowdown in China.
Total gross merchandise volume on Alibaba's various online marketplaces matched last year's total by Friday afternoon and set a new record of 17.8 billion dollars by midnight. Meanwhile, Alibaba rival and China's largest online direct sales company, JD.com, received an increase of more than 78 per cent in orders on Friday than it had last year, the company said.
Singles Day started in the 1990s as a sort of anti-Valentine's Day where people celebrated being single.In 2009, Alibaba started promoting the day as an opportunity for single people to buy discounted goods online to treat themselves. Since then, other e-commerce companies have also offered their own Singles Day promotions.
"Consumers are more willing to pay for good quality and environmentally friendly products instead of hunting for bargains," an Alibaba spokeswoman told dpa. JD.com vice president of international corporate affairs, Josh Gartner, said lower-income consumers' online shopping priorities appear to be changing. "They might not be getting the most expensive products, but they are willing to spend at the top end of what they can afford," Gartner told dpa.
JD.com has about one-quarter of China's e-commerce market while Alibaba's direct sales' site TMall has about 58 per cent, according to consulting firm iResearch.
Although China's growth is slowing, the country's economy appears to be stabilizing, with a key measure of factory activity showing an upturn in October, according to figures released November 1.Singles Day is also known as Bachelors' Day because of the gender imbalance caused by China's one-child policy, and the traditional preference for sons.
The government outlawed sex-selective abortion in the late 1980s, but experts say sex-selective abortion is the main reason why there are nearly 116 men for every 100 women in China. Last year, China abolished its one-child policy and now allows all married couples to have two children.