Chinese consumers smash ‘Singles’ Day’ shopping record


SHANGHAI – Chinese shoppers set new records for spending during the annual “Singles’ Day” buying spree despite an economic slowdown and worries over the US trade war, with state media calling it a sign of China’s rising economic strength.

E-commerce giant Alibaba said consumers spent $38.3-billion on its platforms on Monday during the world’s biggest 24-hour shopping event, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.

The growth rate slowed slightly, however, from the 27 percent increase last year and 39 percent in 2017.

Alibaba’s main domestic competitor, which holds an 11-day promotion ending at midnight on November 11, said early Tuesday it had handled sales over that stretch totalling $29.2-billion, which was up 30 percent.

Singles’ Day, also called “11.11” for the November 11 date, was originally set as an unofficial day for unmarried Chinese.

But Alibaba — which accounts for more than half of China’s e-commerce — commandeered it as a discount sales event akin to the late-November US “Black Friday”, which “Singles’ Day” now handily surpasses.

A range of other e-tailers and retailers also have jumped in.