Nov 14, 2022 - Economy

World's largest shopping day stumbles

Alibaba Singles Day gross merchandise value
Data: Alibaba company reports; Note: In 2020, Singles Day was spread across 11 days; Chart: Nicki Camberg/Axios

Alibaba's Singles Day, or 11.11 shopping festival, has plateaued.

Driving the news: The fabricated e-commerce holiday saw sales that were "in line with last year’s [gross merchandise value] performance despite macro challenges and Covid-related impact," the company reported on Friday.

Why it matters: Alibaba has never before been vague about how much it's sold on Singles Day since launching it back in 2009 to mark the informal holiday for singles in China.

  • The company has always been very proud about how many sales records it sets and analysts often view the figures as a measure of the strength of the Chinese consumer.

By the numbers: The company sold $84.5 billion worth of goods in 2021 — which is still massive compared to $33.9 billion in Cyber Week sales in the U.S. last year (from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday).

The big picture: A combination of consumer fatigue from a bombardment of competing shopping promotions and the economic and psychological impact of China's "zero-COVID" policies played a role in dampening sales growth this year, analysts say.

The intrigue: Amazon Prime Day is a knockoff of Singles Day. Over the years, Singles Day has moved into the U.S., with a formal push by Alibaba’s AliExpress this year.

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