Yesterday, the 11th November 2014, saw China set a new world record for online sales. In just one day, Taobao (China’s eBay equivalent) and Tmall (a B2C platform dedicated to official brand stores) achieved total sales of $9.3 billion – that’s approximately £5.85 billion in one day! This record hasn’t been beaten since ‘Cyber Monday’ in the US in 2011, where sales hit $1.25 billion.
‘Singles day’ on the 11th November in China, was invented in the 1990s as an anti-valentines event, when singles buy something for themselves. The scale of the statistics is staggering; within the first minute, 10 million people had visited Tmall’s website. A total of 213 million registered accounts were active on the day – that’s 40% of China’s internet users. In just 20 minutes it had reached $1bn in sales. Both companies are owned by Alibaba, which floated in the US eight weeks ago.
These phenomenal online sales will be of particular interest to many of our ecommerce clients – some of whom are already active in China and some who are looking to enter the market. Just to put the figures into perspective, according to the Centre for Retail Research, e-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. In the UK alone, online sales will grow 16.8% 2013 to 2014. However, the size of the figures are somewhat different, with sales of £44.97 billion across the entire year and £11 billion spent online in the UK for the whole month of December.
The pace at which online retail is growing is astounding. UK companies that want to be serious contenders in the global eCommerce market are quickly realising that having a presence in China is crucially important. Chinese consumers love Western fashion and favour British brands. Yesterday’s world record is certainly a strong indication of China’s growing retail influence and its transformation into a global superpower in terms of consumerism. Without doubt, we will look back on yesterday as an indicator of changing times and a trumpet call to UK and global companies to maximise the opportunities for future growth in China.
Author: Clyde Buntrock, Group Marketing & Business Development Director, Allport Cargo Services.