© Reuters. A delivery worker sorts parcels at a makeshift logistics station ahead of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai, China, November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song
By Casey Hall and Sophie Yu
SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Alibaba Group Holding and other Chinese e-commerce firms holding Singles Day shopping events together logged a 4.7% decline in sales for the first half of the final day, a research firm said.
Chinese consultancy Syntun said it was estimating a combined 223 billion yuan ($31 billion) for the 12-hour time period. It did not provide a breakdown for individual e-commerce firms.
The Singles Day shopping festival, which despite its name has evolved into a multi-week event, is a key barometer of Chinese retail demand.
Consumer sentiment is, however, at a low ebb – hit hard by China’s stringent COVID curbs and a sharply slowing economy and this year’s sales are expected to be subdued. Alibaba (NYSE:) is also not holding its usual gala show and analysts have forecast flat or only slight growth in sales for the e-commerce giant.
Alibaba two years ago did away with a practice of giving frequent updates of gross merchandise value across its platforms.
That’s part of an effort to play down hype around the event as Chinese President Xi Jinping increasingly emphasises “common prosperity” – a push that seeks to eliminate growing wealth inequities and clamp down on what the Communist Party sees as excessive behaviours.
Alibaba is still expected to publish a final figure after the event ends on Friday.
Citi analysts said this week they were conservatively forecasting Alibaba’s gross merchandise value (GMV) for the event to range between 545 billion yuan and 560 billion yuan ($75-77 billion), growth of 0.9% to 3.6%.
But they predicted rival JD (NASDAQ:).Com Inc’s own Singles Day event to fare somewhat better as it is strong in consumer electronics and home appliance offerings which are expected to remain popular.
Alibaba and JD.Com did not respond to requests for comment on the Syntun data.