China’s biggest online shopping event - Double Eleven (November 11), or Single's Day shopping festival – which offers consumer a feast of lower-priced products, saw transactions hits 372.3 billion yuan ($56.27 billion) during the 11 days of presales and the first half hour of the November 11 event, according to data from e-commerce platform Tmall.com under Alibaba, the main battlefield of the shopping spree.
In 2019, the Double Eleven shopping festival saw sales revenue of 410.1 billion yuan, up 30.5 percent year-on-year.
This year is the 12th Alibaba promoted shopping gala.
Alibaba said over 30,000 brands from more than 220 countries and regions are participating in this year's event.
The most welcomed brands are Xiaomi, Huawei and Midea, and the most popular export destinations are the US, Russia and France.
The Tmall peak orders during the Nov 1 to 11 hit 583,000 per sec, and the sale of masks during the shopping festival were 76.24 percent lower than during the epidemic.
Impacted by COVID-19, total retail sales during the first three quarters of 2020 in China fell 7.2 percent, while posting a modest gain of 0.9 percent in the third quarter.
In contrast to physical sales, the online retail sales continue to grow, posting a 9.7 percent gain in the first three quarters of 2020.
This has translated into higher anticipation of both consumers and businesses in this year’s Single’s Day, as major platforms kicked off the shopping festival in advance. Alibaba has turned the festival into a prolonged seasonal shopping gala – divided into two promotional periods – to draw more participation of consumers and businesses.
Taobao launched presales on October 21, and in the first hour of the pre-sale period the number of participants was double that of last year. Pre-sales posted by more than 300 brands exceeded last year's sales for all of November 11, according to Taobao.
In the post COVID-19 era, the shift to online-based consumption has become inexorable, as digital platforms evolve to appeal to digital-savvy Chinese mainland consumers.
Zhao Ping, vice president of the international trade department at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, predicts that sales during Double Eleven shopping festival may even expand at a faster pace than the US' Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional events, even as the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout earlier in the year bit into Chinese consumers' disposable incomes.