Alibaba’s ‘Double 12’ shopping event sales driven by food platforms

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(Image Credit: Alibaba)

After breaking its own sales record during November’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, Alibaba saw increased sales through its food platforms during the “Double 12” e-commerce event.

Alibaba’s goal for the Double 12 shopping gala, which takes place on Dec. 12 every year, has changed several times since its inception in 2012. Initially, it was used to push unsold goods from the company’s Singles’ Day event, also known as Double 11. The focus then changed to promoting the use of Alipay in offline stores.

In a nationwide business campaign by Alibaba and Chinese retailers, more than 8 million food orders were placed by Chinese consumers using Koubei, Alibaba’s restaurant review and service app, during the first 12 hours of Dec. 12. Orders on Ele.me, another Alibaba-owned food delivery mobile platform, increased by 12% compared to Double 11, during the same period.

Alibaba has not released monetary figures for Double 12 since 2015, according to a Hong Kong-based new retail analyst. The event is seen to hold less importance than Double 11. Pinduoduo and JD.com joined Alibaba in withholding sales information.

According to Alibaba-owned Local Services Company, which was formed in October through the merger of Ele.me and Koubei, the number of orders from Koubei increased by 34% compared to those it processed on Singles’ Day.

Alibaba also aimed to push sales through Taobao by offering express delivery services. The company offered two-hour delivery in select cities. The offer was valid from Dec.1 to Dec. 12 in Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Fuzhou, Xiamen, and Shenzhen.

Social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo also saw growth in its gross merchandise volume (GMV). It says total sales were up 370%, with agricultural products making up more than 38 million orders.

Despite slower growth during Double11, Alibaba’s GMV reached RMB 213.5 billion ($30.8 billion), up 27% from last year. According to Chinese data service provider Syntun, the overall e-commerce sales during  Singles’ Day grew 23.7% year-on-year. However, the growth rate has been slowing since 2015.