Beijing, Nov 11 (efe-epa).- China’s Single’s Day, or Double 11, an annual shopping frenzy in which the country’s biggest online platforms pull in huge sales with special offers, is on track to break new records once again.
By the early evening, JD.com, one of the giants of Chinese retail alongside Alibaba, had taken in almost 252 billion yuan ($38 billion).
For Alibaba and its multiple platforms, the record came just half an hour after midnight with an intake of $56.2 billion, compared to $40.5 billion last year.
The sales figures are not yet finalized.
However, these records have to be put into context, given that this year, companies decided to extend their special Single’s Day offers — so-called because of the number of ones in today’s date: 11/11 — to the beginning of the month.
What cannot be denied, however, is that the Covid-19 pandemic has fueled online sales.
JD.com’s vice-president of sales, Ling Chenkai, agreed.
“The main difference compared to last year has been the impact of the pandemic. It’s a positive impact for rapid growth,” he told the media, including Efe, at the company’s Beijing headquarters.
With the population confined to their homes for weeks, many turned to online shopping in China. At times, it was the only way to get the necessary supplies. The rapid shift boosted an already growing sector in the Asian nation.
In data made available by JD, patterns are showing that most alcoholic beverages were sold in the western cities of Jinan, Nanjing and Qingdao while those residing in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen spent their money on gold and silver.
As for imported products, the list was dominated by the American company Apple and Japan’s Sony. Apple’s iPhone was the most popular foreign product sold on JD.com.
The JD.com sales representative said that online sales of health products and fresh food have also risen during the pandemic.
Ecological groups such have Greenpeace, however, warn of the severe environmental impact caused by such unbridled consumerism on Single’s Day.
Another shadow cast on the occasion for these two companies was their 9% plummet on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in response to Beijing’s draft antitrust law to tackle monopolies.
The vice-president of sales for JD.com declined to comment on the proposal.
The China Labour Bulletin, a worker’s rights platform, expressed its concern about the plight of employees of the online retail industry.
It tweeted: “E-commerce is inherently precarious, but Alibaba has a reputation for overworking couriers during Singles Day, championing the ‘996’ (9 am to 9 pm, six days a week) work schedule in China, and using apps to monitor workers.”
The Bulletin said it has documented 29 protests among express delivery workers, most of them over wage arrears. EFE-EPA