Image credit: Alibaba

Alibaba Singles’ Day for 2018 was yet another record breaker. The gross merchandise value totaled RMB 213.5 billion (around $30.8 billion) this year.

GMV surpassed last year’s RMB 168.2 billion ($25.3 billion) in less than 16 hours.

GMV hit RMB 50 billion in 26 minutes and 2 seconds, almost 15 minutes faster compared with 2017.

Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, Joseph Tsai, said the depreciation of the yuan by almost 10 percent had made things “a little expensive” but didn’t have a “dramatic effect.”

“It’s really been offset by the cyclical growth of Chinese middle-class consumers, who are looking for new ways to upgrade their lifestyle,” said Tsai. “That will offset a lot of the short-term cyclical effects.”

In terms of demographic distribution of consumers, those born in the 1990s were the most active, then those from the 80s, followed by the 70s.

“People born after the 1990s become the main consumption power,” Daniel Zhang, director and chief executive officer of Alibaba. “They have very different lifestyles as the generation born on internet and they are on the mobile internet today,” he said.

“How they select products and recognize a brand are totally different from elder generations,” Zhang added.

Data generated by Alibaba covers a wide range of areas and offers broad insight into Chinese people’s consumption patterns—including Taobao, Tmall, online travel platform Fliggy, online-to-offline services such as Koubei and, as well as Taobao’s rural channel, which offers a window on spending in the countryside.

In terms of geographic spend by province or city, Guangdong led the way followed by Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, Henan, Hubei, and Fujian.

Health products, ranging from vitamins to dietary supplements, were the most popular imported product category for the locations, underscoring an increased awareness of the importance of personal health. Milk powder, cosmetics, and diapers were among other top-selling imported products.

Offline services offered in China, such as entertainment, karaoke, family activities, and manicure services were the most popular with consumers.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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