Chinese consumers spend over $100B during shopping festival

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Chinese consumers spent over $100 billion during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival, signaling a rebound in consumption as China recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and a battering of the economy.

From Nov. 1 to Nov. 11, shoppers spent 498.2 billion yuan ($75.1 billion) on Taobao and Tmall, the e-commerce platforms operated by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company.

The final sales figure exceeded last year’s $38.4 billion over 24 hours, after Alibaba extended its sales period this year for the first time as it sought to help boost sales for merchants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On rival platform JD.com, consumers racked up 271.5 billion yuan ($40.9 billion) in sales over the same period.

The annual Singles’ Day shopping festival, the world’s largest of its kind, offers shoppers generous discounts on a variety of products, from fresh produce to luxury items.

Merchants big and small, from small online stores to international brands like Apple, Nike and L’Oreal, participate in the festival by slashing prices on their products.

The annual shopping festival is closely watched as a barometer for consumption in China. Alibaba, which pioneered the shopping festival, held its first Singles’ Day sale in 2009. Over the past decade, the shopping bonanza has become the world’s largest, regularly dwarfing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the US.

The Singles’ Day festival is named as such because the main shopping day falls on Nov. 11, which when written numerically as 11.11 resembles “bare branches,” a Chinese expression for the single and unattached.

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