SHANGHAI – Online shoppers in China have split up last year's record by selling $ 30.8 billion in sales on the country's annual buy-in fridzy Sunday, which tradition marked its 10th year.
Expenses have for many years darkened Cyber Monday in the United States for online purchases in a single day.
The year's tally was 27 percent higher than a year ago. It violates gloomy forecasts of the world's second largest economy, struggling with a tariff war with the United States, a fall in prices and slowing overall growth.
Known as Singles Day, shrinking for deals and discounts was hardened by the characteristic fanfare of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has become an unofficial holiday for people without romantic partners in an annual email for digital retailers.
A massive display at Alibaba's gala in Shanghai showed the rising sales numbers in real time. Just before 4 o'clock on Sunday, sales amounted to $ 168.2 billion ($ 24.2 billion) – exceeded the total purchase from last year's Singles Day, according to figures published online by Alibaba Group.
At the end of the 24-hour housing, Alibaba reported sales up to 213.5 billion yuan ($ 30.8 billion).
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the results reflected the "strength and increase of China's consumer economy".
Singles Day began as a spoof event celebrated by unattached Chinese university students in the 1990s. In Chinese, it is called "Double 11", after the numbers of the month and the date. The improvised holiday was coordinated by e-retailers in 2009 and was transformed into China's version of Cyber Monday, which is known Monday after Thanksgiving.
Nearly $ 6.6 billion in sales was made on Cyber Monday in 2017, an increase of 17 percent compared with the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics.
Ren Xiaotong, a 27-year-old Beijing auditor, said she suspected that online stores pulled up their prices in the lead to Singles Day so they could explain that the articles were discounted.
But in the end her skepticism did not prevent her from participating.
"Singles Day is different now – it has more tricks than before," said Ren. "You only save a few dozens of yuan at the end. That's why I still bought a pair of shoes, just to celebrate the festival."
The Twitter-like Weibo platform was blanketed with Singles Day-related posts on Sunday, from users who proudly proclaim that they had opposed the shopping needs this year to those who happily listed a range of everyday purchases.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who will be chairman of less than a year, attended the gala launch in Shanghai and appeared in a video announcement where he packed up live hair crabs, a popular online purchase.
Singles Day "is not a discount day, but rather a day of gratitude, Ma said in the video." It's when retailers use the best products and best prices to show their gratitude to our consumers. "
Chinese e-commerce platforms have been fired to deepen low-quality and counterfeit objects. Hong Tao, an economics professor at Beijing Technology and Business University, said that Singles Day encourages customers to prioritize cheap high-quality prices, allowing them to buy things they do not need.
"People are swept up in the festivities," Hong said in a telephone interview. "This breach of consumption, limited to just one day, can be an effort for both buyers and sellers."
The reason also has great environmental impact.
While both Alibaba and competitor JD.com have promised to use biodegradable packaging to reduce waste, investigations conducted in Greenpeace East Asia said that many plastic products labeled "biodegradable" and used by Chinese e-retailers only can break down under high temperatures in installations limited in number across the country.
Greenpeace estimates that "biodegradable" packaging could produce about 721 trucks in Europe every day.
Wang reported from Beijing.
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