China’s 24-hour orgy of online shopping has ended on a climactic high. Singles Day shoppers spent a record US$25.3 billion, eclipsing last year’s US$17.7 billion tally.
The figure is for Alibaba’s two marketplaces, which dominate China’s booming ecommerce industry. No consumer expenditure figure for the day is available from JD, Alibaba’s closest rival.
A record high 90 percent of spending was done on phones and tablets, said an Alibaba spokesperson. Last year it was 82 percent, and 69 percent in 2015.
China’s online shoppers are set to spend around US$1.2 trillion during the course of this year, up from 2016’s US$911 billion, according to data from Emarketer.
Still room to grow
While consumers showed increasing enthusiasm for the day of discounts across China’s ecommerce sites, not everyone is a fan of the annual Singles Day phenomenon, which first started in 2009.
“Singles Day is a disaster for the environment. Alibaba isn’t doing nearly enough,” said Greenpeace East Asia toxics campaigner Nie Li to Agence France Presse.
Greenpeace estimates the 24-hour shopfest last year generated 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste – less than 10 percent of which was recycled.
China’s Singles Day surpassed the US’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday in scale back in 2012:
Converted from Chinese yuan. Rate: US$1 = RMB 6.64.
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