Taobao Live, the live-streaming platform for merchants on Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao Marketplace, posted about US$7.5 billion total transactions in the first 30 minutes of the e-commerce giant’s presales campaign for China’s annual Singles’ Day shopping festival on Wednesday last week.
That marked a 400 per cent jump in sales over the same period last year, according to data released by Alibaba at a press conference on Thursday. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
Before the presales kicked off last week, nearly 10 million tonnes of products – almost double from last year – had been moved by Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s smart logistics unit, into the warehouses that it operates.
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Skincare products, feminine hygiene goods and household cleaning items are among this year’s most popular categories, according to Alibaba. It said inventories of imported cosmetics for men have increased by more than 30 times over a year ago, while those of imported pet food doubled.
Live-streaming is expected to take centre stage at this year’s Singles’ Day, reflecting how this has become an important sales channel for online merchants.
Top Chinese influencers, such as Li Jiaqi and Viya Huang, have already started their special live-streaming sessions ahead of Singles’ Day, also known as “Double 11” because the event is held on November 11 every year.
Li and Huang on Wednesday last week combined to generate more than 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) in deposits from consumers to secure popular products during Singles’ Day, according to a report by China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.
Alibaba said more than 400 company executives and 300 celebrities will hold individual live-streaming sessions on Taobao Live, featuring items ranging from cosmetics and electronics to cars and flats.
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Singles’ Day, the world’s largest online shopping festival, is seen by many investors as a proxy for consumer spending in China as well as an important barometer of the country’s economic health. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic hitting many industries and dragging global economies down, the stakes are particularly high for China’s vast retail industry.
This year, the event is expected to attract about 800 million shoppers, as more than 250,000 brands are taking part in the shopping extravaganza, according to Alibaba.
Alibaba will have two sales windows this year: from November 1 to 3 as well as the whole day on November 11. Presales are in two phases: from October 21 to October 31 and from November 4 to November 10.
The additional sales window was designed for new brands and small businesses to take part. There will be more than 2 million new products at this year’s Singles’ Day, doubling the number from last year, according to Alibaba.
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