When you hear that China is a unique country, but you find it hard to understand the practical meaning of the definition, keep in mind this figure: a billion dollars in 68 seconds. These are the ones obtained by Alibaba during the Singles’ Day of November 11, which like every year has set a new record in terms of sales volume concluded by the world’s largest eCommerce. Already because in our latitudes we are used to combining the term virtual shop with Amazon, whose peak of purchases is consumed during Black Friday (which falls on the last Friday of November), with the reinforcement of Cyber Monday (the following Monday). Featuring discounts and timed promotions, the two days mark a strong upsurge in the business of the Seattle giant, yet there is no comparison with the swirling figures that mark Alibaba’s shopping day.
Purchases for 900 million customers
The platform founded by Jack Ma in 1999 in Hangzhou is the protagonist of an ascent that knows no stops, also because over the years have increased (and continue to increase) the user-customers who crowd the virtual windows both in China and beyond the border. This year’s most important shopping day for the Chinese attracted the interest of around 900 million people, with 693 million of them residing in the dragon country (the group’s last quarterly report recorded a 15.3% increase in active local consumers compared to the previous twelve months) and happy to get their hands on the best and most popular products in the world (as illustrated by the enlightening example of Maserati which, eighteen seconds after the Chinese online debut, had already sold one hundred cars).
A new record
An enormous mass, therefore, and the constant growth of purchasing power among Chinese families are two of the main factors that have allowed Alibaba to overcome itself for the umpteenth time: 38.37 billion dollars (equal to 34.76 billion euros) the general expenditure incurred by consumers, up sharply compared to 30.7 billion dollars recorded last year (were 25 billion in 2017 and 17.8 billion in 2016). And going back to the initial speech, just to get an idea, it is enough to know that the Chinese appointment generates overall a turnover two and a half times greater than that recorded in the two days of crazy purchases promoted by Amazon (which many buyers wait to save something in the projection of Christmas gifts).
Why 11 November
Forfeiting 4.3 billion dollars in five minutes is an impressive figure (like the 13 billion dollars in cash one hour after the start of sales), but it is part of the singular dynamics of the Chinese market. Where every detail makes sense, as do the numbers. Singles’ Day is celebrated on 11 November, which falls on the calendar precisely 11.11, the date that groups together the number 1, the symbol of singles, those who in the nineties have chosen this day to celebrate a day dedicated to themselves, characterizing it with the purchases of desired objects, in response to the day of Lovers that is celebrated in China not once but five times. This is how the initiative gradually took off, ridden since 2009 by Alibaba, whose results make everyone pale, including Western giants of e-commerce.