China’s Singles’ Day pushes new boundaries

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day once again broke new records this year, despite concerns over a slowing economy. Fidelity China Special Situations PLC’s Dale Nicholls outlines how the world’s largest shopping event is evolving in line with changing consumption preferences, with new opportunities emerging.

Key points

  • Singles’ Day sales in China set a new record of over US$38bn this year despite concerns over an economic slowdown due to the impact of US-China trade tensions.
  • This is emblematic of the continued rise of Chinese consumption and the important role technology plays in facilitating this. 
  • This dynamic is creating growth opportunities right along the value chain, particularly in areas like logistics. 

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day set a new record again this year with gross merchandise value reportedly rising by 26% from last year to around US$38.3bn.
It’s not a surprise to see stellar sales numbers amid the ongoing growing consumption trend in China. Consumption remains an important portion of the country’s economy and we have seen digitalisation facilitating this trend as it makes consumption more convenient and efficient than ever before. 

Faster development and higher penetration of the internet and mobile payments have led to greater opportunities for e-commerce. This continues to create an array of opportunities for investors to benefit from how and what China is consuming.

When it comes to consumption preferences in China - this has been evolving over the years. Boundaries of retailing for Singles’ Day continue to expand with a larger range of products, including, for example, entertainment service and real estate, as well as a greater number of brands.

Interestingly, we are seeing consumers favouring certain local brands and products as their awareness towards Chinese culture and identities develop.

In addition, Singles’ Day not only benefits retailers, but also brings strong demand to different sectors along the value chain, such as logistics. As the number of orders increase, demand on parcel processing should also reach record highs. 

The adoption of automation systems and robotic warehousing enables more streamlined, efficient and accurate customer order handling. Also, as development and innovation of new types of infrastructure lead to greater mobility within China, parcels can now be delivered to consumers much faster than in the past.

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