China's 'Singles Day' turns Valentine's Day on its head

The Singles Day Sales start tomorrow

Singles' Day: Alibaba World's Largest Online Shopping Event

Singles' Day now marks the start of a 24-day shopping festival. This year, shoppers from at least 225 countries and regions participated in the event. Over the years it has transformed into a huge sales event with sites like AliBaba generating roughly $18 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. Cyber Monday in the United States saw $3.45 billion in online sales previous year. "By 2020, China's e-commerce market is set to be larger than those of the US, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France combined", said Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels.

Alibaba has also introduced Hema Stores, wherein consumers can walk into the offline store and scan each of the products present in the store through their mobile phones to know more information about it. The Sixth Tone reports that Chinese retailers traditionally put a limit on how many items you can put in your online shopping cart to help "ease operations", encouraging buyers to put in one purchase order rather than multiple transactions that require more processing. It is expected that an estimated 1.5 billion parcels related to the event will be shipped over the next six days to millions of people across more than 600 cities.

This year, the company saw consumers spending 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in 3 minutes after the 24-hour shopping spree kicked off on November 11, 2017, compared with 10 billion yuan in 6 minutes of Singles' Day last year. Ahead of the event, the retailer also outfitted almost 100,000 of its Tmall stores across China with facial recognition technology to process payments.

Their e-commerce business works differently than or other large retail giants.

Greenpeace said "Singles Day" deliveries a year ago resulted in 130,000 metric tons (143,000 short tons) of packaging waste in what it called a "disaster for the environment".

It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in Southeast Asia - a hot e-commerce battleground - and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia, its first outside China.

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