Alibaba Group Holdings (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Report said total purchases for Singles Day had passed the $56 billion mark early Tuesday, well ahead of last year's record pace as consumers flocked to the world's biggest shopping event.
Alibaba, Asia's most valuable tech group, kicked-off its annual global shopping extravaganza ten days early this year with a 'Phase 1' part of the event that generated significant sales prior to the official launch at midnight in Beijing.
Sales on Singles Day itself were initially forecast to generate $45 billion or more in total sales, a near 20% increase from last year's record of $38 billion, as shoppers in key Asia-based economies splurge on tech and consumer goods following months of lockdowns linked to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Early updates from Alibaba's website showed that this year's extended event had so far generated gross merchandise value of 372 billion Chinese yuan, or around $56.2 billion, a staggering total that dwarfs the record $10.4 billion spent during Amazon Inc.'s (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report two-day Prime Day event last month.
Last year's Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday sales came in just under $70 billion, according to the Consumer Growth Partners research group.
Alibaba's U.S.-listed shares fell 8.3% on Tuesday, however, to change hands at $266.42 as it was announced that Chinese regulators were seeking public opinion on draft regulations to rein in monopolistic practices by internet platforms. Tech stocks around the world have also been dragged into a vortex of selling following news of Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report coronavirus vaccine breakthrough earlier this week.
During last year's #Double11 shopping event, over half a billion shoppers placed more than 812 million orders as shoppers flocked to its Tmall and Taobao sites online looking for gifts and discounts in what has become a barometer of China's consumer sentiment since the event was first launched in 2009.
Last week, Alibaba posted stronger-than-expected earnings for its fiscal second quarter as core e-commerce revenues jumped by nearly a third following China's easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Group revenues, Alibaba said, rose 30% to a U.S.-dollar equivalent $22.838 billion. In Chinese yuan terms, Alibaba revenues were pegged at 155.06 billion, compared to a Refinitiv forecast of 154.74 billion.
Revenues from the tech group's burgeoning cloud business rose 60% to 27.24 billion yuan, Alibaba said, compared to a 31% growth rate for it core commerce business, which hit 264.24 billion yuan.