Alibaba Tops Singles’ Day Record
Alibaba broke its Singles’ Day sales record with room to spare, offering assurances about the strength of the Chinese consumer despite the nation’s economic slowdown, according to Bloomberg. Sales on its e-commerce platform reached 102 billion yuan ($15 billion) shortly before 8 pm in China, easily topping last year’s total of 91.2 billion yuan with about four hours left to run. Dwarfing both America’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the 24-hour online promotion is closely watched for clues on the health of the economy and its largest online retailer.
Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba pioneered the annual shopping spree in 2009. and has since transformed it into a social phenomenon, replicated by rivals and now involving thousands of marquee labels across the world. The e-commerce giant turned up the star-wattage for 2016, enlisting actress Scarlett Johansson, sports celebrity David Beckham, basketball legend Kobe Bryant and pop-rock band One Republic to headline a pre-sale gala and drum up international attention. Pop star Katy Perry pulled out at the last minute because of a family emergency.
Executives had set the bar high, confidently predicting another record-breaking endeavor at a time the economy’s growing at its slowest pace in a quarter-century and a weakening yuan may curb enthusiasm for foreign wares. The best-selling items include Apple iPhones, Nike and Adidas gear and Haier appliances, the company said on its official blog.