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Alibaba tests extended 11/11 shopping festival amid increasing competition

Written by Song Jingli Published on 

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Alibaba’s famous shopping festival gives customers a longer window to capitalize on discounts this year.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) has extended its annual one-day promotion to four days in November to boost sales in the first 11.11 festival since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alibaba revealed to KrASIA that 100 brands, including Nike, Adidas, Huawei, Apple, and Perfect Diary have achieved gross merchandise volume (GMV) of RMB 100 million in the first 111 minutes of November 1, the first day of its 2020 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

The e-commerce giant, which founded the shopping festival on November 11 in 2009 for the sake of the so-called singles, has set November 1 to 3 and November 11 as the days when consumers can complete the purchases they have pre-ordered as of October 21.

In addition, the ongoing shopping festival now features double shopping entries, namely from Taobao and Ant Group’s mobile payment platform Alipay.

“This means double the opportunities for brands and merchants to showcase their products and stories and double the fun for shoppers all over the world,” the company said in a statement in October. A total of 50,000 new brands are joining to promote their products, with 2,600 overseas brands.

The company has also gathered all units in its digital economy to join the promotion, including Tmall Global, online travel agency Fliggy, as well as ticketing platforms such as Taopiaopiao and Damai.

Data from Fliggy shows that Northeast China has become a popular travel destination with outbound travel restrictions still in place. Jilin province’s Changbai Mountain has become one of the leading attractions in the Northeast, with 64,000 hotel packages sold in the area on November 1.

“A one day promotion is actually against the retail industry law as that brings huge pressure to vendors and couriers as they need to cope with mountains of orders,” Zhuang Shuai, a retail veteran and also founder for market research firm Bailian Consultancy, told KrASIA on Friday.

“Behind the extended shopping festival is Alibaba’s efforts to release pressure for these participants especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to most of Chinese businesses this year,” he said.

“However, that is still a move due to increasing competition in the e-commerce sector,” he added, saying that “merchants now have more channels to sell their products such as WeChat’s mini program platform and short-video and livestreaming platforms.”

China’s largest short-video app Douyin has been hosting a so-called 11.11 Douyin Chongfen Jie (Jie also means season) with livestreamers like Luo Yonghao to promote various things, including furniture, from October 25 to November 11.

Douyin’s rival Kuaishou, which achieved e-commerce GMV of RMB 109.6 billion (USD 16.6 billion) in the first half of this year, has been staging a promotion called Kuaishou 116 Gouwu Kuanghuan Jie from October 31 to November 11.

Alibaba’s established rival JD.com (NASDAQ: JD) has long since competed with the Hangzhou-based firm and has launched their own promotion called JD.com 11.11 Quanqiu Re’ai Ji, taking place from November 1 to November 11 this year.

Alibaba’s close challenger Pinduoduo (NASDAQ: PDD) will host a gala, called 11.11 Chaopin Ye (ye means a night) for the first time, to be live broadcast on Hunan TV to a nationwide audience on November 11.

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