Alibaba prepares for Singles’ Day
Alibaba’s (BABA) Global Shopping Festival, known as Singles’ Day, is fast approaching on November 11, 2017. It’s a one-day shopping event for Alibaba and other retailers.
In 2016, Alibaba recorded $17.7 billion in gross sales on Singles’ Day, implying a growth of 32.0% from the previous year. Its Singles’ Day sales have increased steadily in recent years as Alibaba’s customer base has expanded.
Alibaba finished its fiscal 1Q18 (June quarter) with 466.0 million annual active retail customers. That compares to 454.0 million in the prior quarter and 434.0 million in the year-ago quarter.
Alibaba is making elaborate preparations for this year’s Singles’ Day. It has built automated warehouses across China (MCHI) that it plans to open for the upcoming Singles’ Day event. On October 17, 2017, its delivery unit, Cainiao Network, unveiled the first of the automated warehouses in Guangdong Province.
The automated warehouses are equipped with robots to help with speedy order fulfillment. The move by Alibaba to set up automated warehouses for Singles’ Day orders further highlights how speed is rapidly reshaping e-commerce competition. Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), and Walmart (WMT) are also taking steps to improve their shipping speeds.
JD tries coalition to challenge Alibaba
JD.com (JD), which is also looking to Singles’ Day as a big shopping event, has stepped up its efforts to challenge Alibaba for this year’s Singles’ Day shopping dollars. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that JD.com has joined forces with Walmart and Tencent (TCEHY), which owns WeChat and WeChat Pay, to simplify shopping and speed up order deliveries on Singles’ Day.