$74.1 billion sales break 11.11 records yet again

The 11.11 shopping festival has smashed all previous sales records, with event founders Alibaba reporting all-time-high sales totalling RMB498.2 billion (US$74.1 billion).

The figure covers the 11-day 11.11 campaign, which began at midnight on November 1, and represents an increase in sales (Gross Merchandise Volume) of 26% compared to the same period in 2019.

This year’s festival was the first to have two sales windows – the first running November 1-3, and the second one a frantic 24-hour shopping spree which ended as the clock struck midnight to signal the end of November 11. The extension of the festival was designed by Alibaba to help businesses boost sales in a year that has been challenging for businesses and consumers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International brands were in high demand, with US brands alone banking $5.39 billion in sales during the 11.11 shopping period. This represented the largest contribution from a single country or region outside of China.

“A China strategy – and a digital strategy – are going to be absolutely critical for success in the future,” said Alibaba President Michael Evans.“Today’s businesses need both a China strategy and a digital strategy to succeed, particularly in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic.” 

In all, over 26,000 brands from 84 countries and regions taking part, between them offering 1.2 million new products from overseas to Chinese consumers.

Tmall Import and Export general manager Alvin Liu said sales reflected the opportunity in China for international brands, describing “huge domestic demand in the Chinese market as a source of hope”.

Fast facts from 11.11 2020

474 brands participating in 11.11 each surpassed RMB100 million (US$14.9 million) in GMV this year.

Total number of delivery orders: 2.321 billion

31,766 participating overseas brands (on cross-border platforms) 

105 industry clusters generating over RMB100 million in GMV 

2.10 million participating offline mom-and-pop stores 

Coverage of 410,000 types of farm produce from 1,406 counties  

Alibaba founder and Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai said the festival’s success showed “the Chinese economy has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels”.