11.11 sales set another new record  

Alibaba’s 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival finished with a new record in sales: RMB 120.7 billion (US$17.79 billion) in gross merchandise volume in just 24 hours.

That represents a 32 per cent increase in 11.11 sales over last year’s RMB 91.2 billion on Alibaba’s eCommerce platforms Tmall and Taobao Marketplace.

Other records tumbled, as well. GMV on mobile devices reached RMB 98.97 billion or $14.6 billion (compared with $9.8 billion last year) and there were 657 million delivery orders generated, compared with 467 million in 2015. There were 1.04 billion payment transactions processed compared with 710 million last year.

Perhaps the most astonishing figure was the near 100,000 motor vehicles sold during the 24 hour period – ranging from Maseratis to the most popular, the local Chery model of which 13,000 sold online. That’s the equivalent of the monthly sales of 1000 car dealerships.

Maserati vouchers were sold online for 50,000 yuan on Tmall, redeemable at 46 dealers around China as deposit on a vehicle with a sticker price of 999,800 yuan ($168,000).

About two in five of the cars were financed by interest-free credit for up to 36 months from Alibaba which had preapproved about 120 million mainlanders for loans.

“This year’s 11.11 is a preview of the future of retail, where entertainment, commerce and interactive engagement intersect seamlessly,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group CEO.

“From the kick-off of warm-up activities to the countdown gala and all the way through the 24-hour global shopping festival itself, we’ve seen unprecedented engagement between consumers and merchants. 11.11 showcased how online and offline retail will be reinvented to offer brand new shopping experiences to our hundreds of millions of mobile, digitally savvy active users.”

The launch of 11.11 brought with it milestone after milestone as consumers who had filled their online shopping carts in the weeks leading up to the sale clicked “Buy” right at midnight. Total GMV soared past RMB 100 million in just 40 seconds, while it took just six minutes and 58 seconds to reach RMB 10 billion. In terms of US dollars, the $1 billion mark for total GMV and mobile GMV hit at 4 minutes and 54 seconds and 5 minutes 31 seconds into the sale, respectively.

During the first hour, order volume set yet another record with a peak of 175,000 orders in one second, while the number of payments settled per second totaled 120,000 at their height. Last year during the peak of the sale, the communications network run by Alibaba Cloud, the company’s cloud-computing subsidiary, processed 140,000 orders per second.

11.11 isn’t a purely Chinese affair. According to Alibaba, 235 countries and regions completed cross-border transactions during the festival, with thousands of international brands participating. Adidas, Apple, Nike, Pampers, Philips, Siemens and Uniqlo were all among the most popular in their respective product categories.

Outside China, Japan accounted for the most sales through Alibaba on 11.11, followed by the US, South Korea, Australia and Germany.

Financial metrics aside, Alibaba this year made a significant push outside the realm of pure sales to include increasing levels of interactivity among its platforms, the merchants and consumers shopping at home. Chief among those was a new virtual reality shopping experience, Buy+, in which users could shop and purchase goods in a VR environment. The Hangzhou, China-based company also launched an augmented-reality game, ‘Finding the Carnival Cat’, a Pokemon Go-style game that allowed players to chase Tmall’s cat mascot into real-world retailers and restaurants such as Intime shopping malls, Starbucks and KFC.

Zhang said successful retail in this age requires a combination of commerce and entertainment.

“The young generation born after 1990 is becoming the main source of consumption,” he said. “They have a vastly different lifestyle and consumption pattern.”

Here’s an infographic offering an overview of the key facts and figures from the festival:

11.11 infographic

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