China’s Singles Day shopping extravaganza came to a close Monday at midnight having posted 30% year-on-year growth in sales across e-commerce platforms, a modest recovery from last year’s figures which had marked a distinct shift in consumer sentiment.

Why it matters: Singles Day, the “Olympic games for merchants,” has helped catapult China’s retail development over the past decade and is seen as an informal bellwether for economic health.

  • Overall sales growth for major Chinese e-commerce platforms during last year’s event slowed to 23.7% year on year from highs of more than 40% seen in earlier years.
  • Although still far lower than before, this year’s growth figure is a sign that Chinese consumer confidence is relatively healthy given the impact of a slowing local economy amid trade tensions with the US.

Details: China’s overall e-commerce sales during the day increased more than 30% year on year to RMB 410.1 billion ($58.56 billion) across platforms, according to reports citing data from China-based data services company Syntun.

  • Alibaba Group sold RMB 268.4 billion ($38.4 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) on Nov. 11, 2019, an increase of 26% compared with GMV of RMB 213.5 billion in 2018, but slower compared with last year’s 27% year-on-year comparison.
  • recorded RMB 204.4 billion in GMV over 11 days from Nov. 1 to 11, rising 28% year on year compared with last year’s RMB 159.8 billion GMV figure and faster than last year’s 26% growth rate.
  • Pinduoduo does not reveal its Singles Day sales data, but Syntun data showed that Pinduoduo has overtaken as the third-largest online sales platform during the festival, after Alibaba and JD.
  •, the omini-channel retailer, announced 76% year-on-year growth in orders. Sales through its newly acquired Carrefour China surged 43% year on year to RMB 312 million.
  • The e-commerce giants have expanded the promotion across their ecosystem to include online travel, local services, and even healthcare.
  • Alibaba’s sales include those from online travel platform Fliggy. JD reported that orders for its JD Internet Hospital for promotions on services such as health and dental checkups, vaccines, and cosmetic surgery, increased 45 times year on year in the first hour of of the event.

Context: Singles Day, a promotional concept first conceived by Alibaba and based on the single person’s version of Valentine’s Day, is heading into the second decade.

  • The event generated more than 1.66 billion parcels this year, exceeding the size of the Chinese population, highlighting the significance of the shopping promotion for the e-commerce industry.
  • Smartphone and consumer electronics, home appliances, and cosmetics were the most popular product categories.

After Singles’ Day’s dazzling first decade, what’s next for global shopping fest?

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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