LIVE BLOG: Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

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LIVE BLOG: Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

Alibaba Group’s 13th annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is underway.

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival began in 2009 with participation from just 27 merchants as an event for merchants and consumers to raise awareness about the value of online shopping. It is now by far the largest shopping festival globally.

We invite you to follow our live blog this year as we share updates, insights and a behind-the-scenes peek into the making of the world’s largest shopping festival.

12:47 CST, November 18, Hangzhou

That’s a Wrap, Folks!

We’ve been on quite a journey over the past three weeks. The 2021 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is done and dusted with a tidy — and record-breaking — RMB540.3 billion ($84.5 billion) in gross merchandise value. 

Meanwhile, two brands surpassed RMB10 billion in GMV for the first time in history while a whopping 36 topped RMB1 billion. And can you believe that products bought during 11.11 have traveled to 224 countries and regions?! 

This year’s 11.11 was Alibaba’s most sustainable and inclusive shopping festival to date. More than 2.5 million consumers purchased green products on Tmall during the sales period and green packages sent out from Cainiao sent out roughly 90 million green packages between October 21 and November 14.

We are now winding down this live blog, but fret not — same time and place next year! Thank you for tuning in and zàijiàn from the Alizila team.

Alibaba's Xixi campus decorated for 11.11.
Alibaba Xixi campus in Hangzhou decorated for 11.11. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

16:20 CST, November 15, Hangzhou

AliExpress Lives Up to Name on 11.11

Alibaba Group global marketplace AliExpress reported faster delivery and strong sales during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival this year, said a release from AliExpress on Monday. 

The company’s 11.11 sales ran from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 this year. The sales of goods from AliExpress in Brazil in the first 15 minutes of Nov. 11 equaled that of the first hour last year. Meanwhile, in South Korea, it took 23 minutes for the sales of goods to surpass the first-hour gross merchandise value achieved last year.

AliExpress cut down its dispatch and delivery time during 11.11 by upgrading its logistics network. Earlier this year, the platform and its logistics partners built five new warehouses in China for companies to pre-stock goods and deliver products faster. In Europe, its warehouse system was also expanded with additional warehouses in Germany, France, Poland and Italy.

More than 10,000 people attended AliExpress’s gala on Nov. 11 in Paris. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

Products can be delivered within three days in Spain and France, and a maximum of seven days in other regions of Europe. 

As part of recent localization efforts, AliExpress hosted a gala dubbed AliExpress Night on the night of November 11 in Paris. More than 10,000 people showed up in person, and 700,000 people tuned in to the live streaming of AliExpress Night. 

12:02 CST, November 15, Hangzhou

A League of Their Own: Apple and L’Oréal Hit RMB10 Billion in 11.11 Sales

Apple and L’Oréal saw their 11.11 sales hit RMB10 billion (US$1.4 billion) each, scoring an all-time high for brands in the history of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba Group reported on Friday. 

This is a remarkable achievement. No brand, let alone two, has ever earned more than RMB10 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV). Other brands reached new personal bests as 36 companies saw their GMV shoot above RMB1 billion and a further 485 brands reached over RMB100 million.

This year Alibaba reached a record-breaking RMB540.3 billion in final GMV. The company said its “steady and quality growth” this 11.11 revealed China’s dynamic consumption power.

On Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border marketplace, international brands also reported strong sales with 235 companies reporting over RMB10 million in GMV. What’s more, the number of brands on Tmall Global that saw their GMV surpassing RMB1 million increased 46% year-on-year, the company said as it concluded its 11-day shopping blitz.

15:12 CST, November 12, Hangzhou

How to Turn China’s 11.11 Shopping Festival Into Year-Long Success

The party’s over and gala gowns are going back into storage…Now the work begins again!

Already merchants are turning their minds to 11.11 next year, mulling how to turn the traction gained among Chinese consumers during the festival into sustainable growth in the world’s second-largest economy.  

Retailers have traditionally used gross merchant value (GMV) as a yardstick and investors have applauded the ever-swelling metric. Between 2014 and 2019,  the compound annual growth in 11.11 GMV for the sector was 35% as more shoppers took part.

However, there is a new definition of 11.11 success, consultants at Bain & Co point out in a new report, one that’s anchored in customer loyalty as well as customer acquisition.

“This shift in mentality will really help you win not just on day one, i.e 11.11, but the remaining 364 days of the calendar year as well,” James Yang, a Partner at Bain & Co and one of the report’s authors, told Alizila in an interview.

Fostering customer loyalty will outlast undifferentiated discounting, according to the report.

Read the full story here:  

10:30 CST, November 12, Hangzhou

Record-Breaking Statistics Keep Rolling In

Alibaba Group reported RMB540.3 billion (US$84.54 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) at midnight on November 12, a new record high for the company’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. 

 A record-breaking 290,000 brands participated this year, including 78 businesses that saw their GMV grow more than ten times compared with last year to hit above RMB100 million. Another 698 brands made the leap from RMB1 million in GMV last year to over RMB10 million this year, according to the company. 

Young millennials and Gen-Z made more purchases than ever. More than 45% of shoppers this year were born after 1990, while the number of 2000s babies buying up goods grew 25% year-on-year. 

Senior consumers, who are the target of this year’s inclusion efforts from Taobao, also joined the shopping bonanza. Every day, 1.1 million senior users on average used the newly launched Taobao “senior mode” to scan for 11.11 deals — especially smartphones, down jackets and wool coats.

Sustainability, the other major theme of the year, was echoed in consumer behaviors. More than 2.5 million people purchased green products during this 11.11, amid Alibaba’s initiative to promote green consumption. Consumers can redeem green vouchers when making purchases at the dedicated vertical set up by Tmall for green products. 

Cainiao’s green logistics push, another mainstay of this year’s green initiatives, saw its impact on consumers’ carbon footprint. More consumers used e-shipping labels and recycled old cardboard boxes for shipping and a new sorting algorithm cut down packaging waste, saving roughly 18,000 tons of carbon emissions.

01:30 CST, November 12, Hangzhou

Alibaba’s 11.11 Mega-sale Closes on a High Note

As the clock strikes midnight, Alibaba Group has officially concluded its thirteenth-annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with a record-breaking RMB540.3 billion (US$84.54 billion) in gross merchandise volume.

“This 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, we delivered steady and quality growth that is a reflection of the dynamic Chinese consumption economy,” said Yang Guang, vice president at Alibaba Group.

“We also leveraged the power of 11.11 as a platform to fulfill our social responsibility. This year’s festival was a meaningful milestone as part of our commitment towards building a sustainable future.”

You can find our full wrap-up story here.

Alibaba 2021 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Delivers Steady Growth
Alibaba Group’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival delivered steady growth this year. Photo Credit: Alibaba Group

21:21 CST, November 11, Hangzhou

Good Heavens!

Alibaba Group ran this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on the public cloud, said Cheng Li, Alibaba’s Chief Technology Officer.  

Alibaba used its self-developed Shenlong architecture and its cloud-native database PolarDB to support its cloud-native approach, Cheng said during a sharing session held on Thursday by a group of Alibaba’s executives.

“11.11 is an important testing ground for technology,” said Cheng.

Alibaba is using more liquid-cooling technology to reduce the carbon footprint of its data centers, according to Cheng. In 2015, Alibaba opened a data center near Hangzhou that taps into natural water bodies for cooling, the first of its kind in the country.

During this year’s 11.11 it cut carbon-dioxide emissions at its data center in Zhangbei County of Northwestern China by 26,000 tons through the increased use of green energy.

18:40 CST, November 11, Hangzhou

Small is Beautiful

About two-thirds of 290,000 merchants participating in this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industrial firms and new brands, said Yang Guang, vice president of Tmall, the highest proportion ever.

About 70,000 of these merchants were participating in the annual sales event for the first time, said Yang during a panel discussion of 11.11 among a group of Alibaba Group executives held on Thursday.

A great number of SMEs participating translates into more choices for consumers, he added.

11:30 CST, November 11, Hangzhou

Apple and L’Oréal Kick Off Big Day with RMB100 Million in GMV

Consumer tech company Apple and beauty retailer L’Oréal topped RMB100 million ($15.6 million) in sales between midnight on November 1 and 00:45 on November 11, Alibaba Group reported on Thursday. 

They are among 382 brands that saw their gross merchandise value (GMV) surpass RMB100 million in the 10 days before 11.11. Also in the same category are popular Chinese brands including Huawei and ERKE, and upcoming brands such as lingerie brand Bananain and smart home device brand TINECO. 

40 brands which recorded more than RMB10 million in GMV during last year’s 11.11 have already surpassed RMB100 million in GMV this year, with almost a full day to go before the event officially ends. 

Tmall 11.11
Tmall’s 11.11 display at the gala event to kick off the big day. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

Small and midsized brands also saw their sales record reach a new high. 411 small and midsized brands with more than RMB1 million in GMV during last year’s 11.11 saw their sales cross RMB10 million this year. 

Alibaba introduced the first sales window between Nov. 1 to 3 this year. And the main event of 11.11 was kicked off with an online gala held at 7:30 pm Wednesday. British actor Benedict Cumberbatch made a surprise appearance at the gala virtually. And the Olympic track star Su Bingtian also took the stage at the gala. 

A record 290,000 brands are participating in this year’s 11.11, offering more than 14 million deals to around 900 million consumers in China. Alibaba said that it ramped up discounts and rebates, and extended sales from one-day to two sales periods at this year’s 11.11 to better serve consumers. 

9:00 CST, November 11, Hong Kong

Good Morning and Get Ready

We’ve made it to the big day! November 11 is here: a date brands and customers across Alibaba Group platforms wait all year for.

So pour yourself some coffee, get your scrolling finger ready and stay tuned as we share the latest sales figures and news on the world’s biggest shopping festival.

11:45 CST, November 10, Shanghai

Counting Down: 11.11 Gala Going Live

Alibaba Group’s 11.11 Countdown Gala Celebration is set to kick off on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai – in the few hours running up to the final leg of the world’s largest shopping festival.

While it will not have a live studio audience amid an outbreak of new Covid-19 cases, this year’s event will be broadcast live by Youku, Zhejiang TV, Shanghai Dragon TV and other partners.

The gala will feature appearances from celebrities including Zhou Dongyu, Jackson Yi, Li Ronghao as well as track star Su Bingtian, who became the first Chinese sprinter to compete in the men’s 100-meter final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch will also virtually make a “surprise appearance” at the gala.

Alibaba said it would release the full lineup at a later date.

In its seventh year, the year’s event is expected to incorporate more theatrical elements, inviting viewers to become “detectives” to find clues and solve puzzles with their phones while watching the show.

In line with 11.11’s sustainability focus this year, Alibaba will also replace all lighting with energy-efficient bulbs and cut back on using stage props to reduce waste.

18:00 CST, November 9, Hangzhou

Digital Experience Draws Chinese Consumers on a Shopping Spree for Luxury 

China is luxury’s growth engine, as this year’s 11.11 shows. During November 1 to 3 sales window, the number of luxury buyers in China grew more than 40% year-on-year, Alibaba Group reported Tuesday. 

The number of luxury buyers from lower-tiered cities increased close to 50% year-on-year, according to recent sales data. Consumers from nearly 400 cities in China placed orders on Tmall Luxury during this 11.11, defying the expectation that luxury is limited to urbanites.

Fueling the rise in spending on luxury in smaller cities and remote towns, is partly the digital experience. Buyers in lower-tier cities, who do not have access to brick-and-mortar stores of luxury brands, move their browsing online, powered by Tmall Luxury’s virtual try-on services. 

A record 200 luxury brands are taking part in this year’s 11.11 and 30 have joined in the interactive section on Tmall Luxury to provide an all-immersive experience to online consumers through virtual try-on services.

Luxury Spree
Luxury goods and experiences are only a tap away on Tmall Luxury Pavilion. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

During the first sales period, more than 20 million consumers in China used AR for purchasing watches and VR for touring premium hotels in the e-commerce platform’s interactive section.

18:27 CST, November 8, Hangzhou

Chinese esports team Edward Gaming (EDG) was crowned champion in the 2021 League of Legends World Championship on Saturday, in a game that riveted young people across China.  

That drove another wave of sales for esports accessories on Tmall, Alibaba Group’s online marketplace. Gaming desks and chairs, mouses, graphics cards and gaming laptops are already among the most popular products list for this year’s 11.11, as esports go mainstream.

Gaming chairs’ Gross merchandise volume (GMV) increased by 300% for this year’s sales event, while Intel’s 12th Gen processor, which Intel says is the world’s best gaming processor, sold out soon after sales started. 

Apart from esports accessories, designer toys and Chinese heritage-themed goods are also what young consumers are gravitating towards this year.

17:35 CST, November 8, Hangzhou

Consumers From Smaller Cities and Rural Areas Power This 11.11 

Spending by consumers in lower-tier cities and rural areas increased by nearly 25% during 11.11’s November 1 to 3 sales window, Alibaba Group reported Monday.

Gross merchandise volume (GMV) of robot vacuum cleaners in lower-tier cities and rural areas increased 122.5% compared with last year, while the sales of dishwashers in the regions reported a 47.1% increase. 

Consumers in lower-tier cities, including less-developed urban centers and rural areas, are driving the next wave of consumption growth in China. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the per capita disposal income of those living in rural areas grew 19.1% in the first half of this year, nearly twice as fast compared to urban residents year-on-year. 

Residents in the less-developed areas are now increasingly looking for high-quality products that can elevate their quality of life. In smaller cities where there is no flagship store available for high-end products, digital stores allow brands to bring the same experience from their brick-and-mortar stores to online shoppers. 

Smart home appliances and even luxury goods have started appearing in shopping carts during this year’s 11.11.

16:30 CST, November 4, Hangzhou

Inside the Making of Taobao’s ‘Senior Mode’

Shao Xi, the project manager overseeing Taobao’s “senior mode,” spoke to media in a livestreamed event on Wednesday, sharing the backstory behind the new elderly-focused version of China’s top shopping app.

Alibaba Group has stepped up its focus on inclusivity during the 11.11 sales period with more than 900 million shoppers expected to take part this year. Taobao’s senior mode features larger texts and icons and voice-assisted technology, making it easier for senior citizens to search for products using voice commands.

“Population aging is not just a looming trend but already a reality in China, so finding ways to help them adapt to the digital world has become increasingly important,” Shao said.

Her 100-strong team conducted research and surveyed seniors on their experience of shopping online. For example, some elderly users found it difficult to type in search bars and struggle with pop-up windows and complicated marketing messages. Others were alarmed by ads and promotions, concerned that they might be being scammed.

Shao stressed that while Taobao has rolled out senior-oriented features like its peer-to-peer chat feature for family members to connect and pay for each other within the app,  it was important to completely revamp the app tailoring to their specific needs. They moved fast and completed two iterations of the Taobao senior mode in just 100 days before launching the service last month.

“Going forward, we will explore more ways to make it easier for family members to help elders browse and buy products,” Shao added. “We want to improve the overall experience for senior users, build brand trust and bring them a reliable, quality experience on Taobao.”

15:33 CST, November 3, Hangzhou

AliExpress Breaks into Green Scene with Logistics Push, Product Spotlight

Alibaba Group’s online marketplace AliExpress has established a dedicated vertical for eco-friendly products and integrated green logistics ahead of this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. 

The upgrades place green products in the spotlight, ranging from energy-efficient electronics to water-saving home appliances, and leverage AliExpress’ self-pickup locker network in Europe to shrink the carbon footprint for its last-mile logistics. 

Aliexpress Goes Green
AliExpress’s dedicated vertical for eco-friendly products. Photo credit: Alibaba Group  

“With our commitment to continuously innovate the shopping experience and contribute to a better life for everyone, this is a major milestone for AliExpress and will take 11.11 to the next level,” said Wang Mingqiang, general manager of AliExpress.

There are already 20,000 self-pickup service points available in Spain, France, Poland and Russia, according to a release from the company. 

AliExpress is also offering free shipping for all eligible products participating in 11.11, for orders made in Spain, France, Russia, Poland and the UK. In France and Spain, customers will benefit from an “On-time Guarantee” service which will reimburse US$1 per order if packages from warehouses in China and overseas arrive late.

For the first time, AliExpress will host an offline 11.11 Gala in France, according to the company. In Spain, the platform said it will celebrate the launch of a brand-new physical store in Sevilla on 11.11. 

18:27 CST, November 2, Hangzhou

All Hands on Deck as Tmall Launches Green Alliance

Tmall, Alibaba’s online marketplace, launched a green alliance with 14 brands on Tuesday to promote green production and consumption among merchants. 

“We believe if there are more green suppliers, there will be more low-carbon consumption. And if there are more green production, it will lead to greener lifestyle,” reads the alliance’s appeal.

The green alliance called for brands to adopt green production and logistics, use more green energy and green data centers. It is also encouraging people to embrace a low-carbon and eco-friendly lifestyle. More efforts are needed to protect the natural environment, the appeal said. 

Alibaba Green Alliance
Tmall calls for merchants to go green at this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

“In recent years, buying eco-friendly has become a major trend in China,” said Zheng liqing, Tmall’s head of consumer marketing. “Tmall is collaborating with brands in taking a bigger step towards carbon emission reduction, not only because it wants to pursue carbon neutrality, but also because it is being responsive to consumer choices.”  

The launch is part of a broader push by Alibaba for a green 11.11 Global Shopping Festival this year. Among the brands that joined the green alliances are Gerber, Innisfree, Nespresso, Xpeng, Brita, and Haeir.

14:15 CST, November 2, Hangzhou

iPhones are the Apple of Consumers’ Eye this 11.11

In the first second of sales on November 1, shoppers bought RMB300 million (US$47 million) worth of iPhones — a figure which grew within four minutes to eclipse all iPhone sales on the first day at last year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, according to Alibaba Group.

Apple is one of around 2,600 brands that saw sales in the first moments of day one surpassing last year’s November 1 full-day Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), including electric car manufacturer Xpeng, smartphone brand Vivo and consumer electronics company Xiaomi.

A record 290,000 brands are offering more than 14 million deals during this year’s 11.11 in tandem with cross-store rebates and sustainable product shopping vouchers.

16:56 CST, November 1, Hangzhou

11.11 Shoppers Score 120,000 Green Home Appliances in 9 Hours

Consumers bought more than 120,000 eco-friendly and energy-efficient home appliances over the first nine hours of sales at the annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba Group said in a release on Monday.

Tmall, Alibaba’s online marketplace, saw its newly launched green vertical for sustainable brands and products experienced a surge in orders in the early hours of Monday morning, shortly after sales started. 

Tmall Green Vertical
Consumers can earn up to 18400g energy points on Alipay Ant Forest for purchasing one green home appliance. Photo credit: Alibaba Group 

The first 11.11 shopping window runs from November 1-3 this year. Between midnight and 1 am, consumers bought 25,000 water-saving toilets — part of a larger cohort of 120,000 purchased green home appliances ranging from energy-efficient refrigerators to washing machines.

A consumer can earn up to 18400g energy points on Alipay Ant Forest for purchasing one green home appliance. If consumers all confirm the receipt of the products, they will earn energy points totaling 1,083 tons in Alipay Ant Forest, the equivalent of building 58,838 real trees, according to the release. 

More than 500,000 products with official Green Product Certification are available in the Tmall green vertical, part of the company’s efforts to promote green consumption and sustainable growth for this year’s 11.11. 

14:30 CST, November 1, Hangzhou

How Big is Your Carbon Footprint? Cainiao Helps Consumers Measure Improvements

Less is more, so the saying goes, and carbon emissions are no exception. Cainiao Network, Alibaba Group’s logistics arm, rolled out a new feature on Monday enabling customers to check and share how they’ve reduced their carbon footprint over the year with green logistics. 

By searching “delivery package recycling” on Taobao and Cainiao apps, users can check the number of green packages they’ve received since last year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, as well as the number of times they used old cardboard boxes for shipping at Cainiao Post pick-up points.

The app will then calculate how much consumers reduced their carbon footprint annually, by adopting those green measures. 

Reusing shipping boxes can reduce your carbon emissions by 358 grams, while Cainiao’s smart-packaging algorithm can shrink your footprint by another 62 grams. Even just using recyclable materials for shipping is a powerful step that cuts out 22 grams of carbon on average.

Consumers can also reduce their carbon footprint by picking up and shipping their packages at Cainiao pick-up points instead of having the packages shipped from or delivered to their homes. Dropping old shipping boxes at participating recycling stations is also considered a way to contribute to carbon emission reduction. 

Cainiao’s green logistics push last year helped reduce 250,000 tons of carbon emission, according to data from China Environmental United Certification Center, and this year the platform will offer package recycling at 60,000 pick-up points. 10,000 Cainiao stations will also reuse old boxes.

17:00 CST, October 28, Hangzhou

Cainiao’s Logistics Tech Helps Alibaba Dodge Pandemic Fallout

Cross-border e-commerce business remains robust despite Covid-19 logistics challenges, said Alibaba Group chief marketing officer Chris Tung. 

The pandemic had an undeniable toll on the economy and society, he noted at an international press panel on Wednesday, acknowledging that the company’s logistics and supply chain took a hit. 

But all is not lost, Tung explained, as Alibaba logistics platform Cainiao Network incorporates the latest technology to deal with the pandemic’s effects.

The platform leverages cloud-based systems, data analytics and artificial intelligence to support deliveries and keep supply chains running. It has also deployed robots for managing its smart warehouse and delivering parcels directly to people’s doorsteps to enable contactless mailing. 

Despite the challenges, the pandemic led to a surge in the company’s cross-border e-commerce business while local travel retailers like Alibaba B2C Tmall Global platform are moving online, according to Tung. 

14:20 CST, October 28, Hangzhou

One For All, All For One (Million) this 11.11

1.1 million people are expected to benefit Alibaba Group’s Goods for Good philanthropic program during this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Platform, with the company donating RMB1 (US$0.16) for every purchase shoppers share on social media.

Launched in 2006, the initiative lets merchants pledge a portion of their sales to a charity of their choice. When consumers purchase the “Goods for Good” products on Taobao, the platform directly transfers the money to the charity organization.

This year Alibaba will make an RMB1 donation for every 11.11 purchase successfully shared on social media by consumers. And for Tmall merchants whose donated proceeds exceed a certain limit, they will earn a label that recognizes their philanthropic efforts from Taobao. 

The program has provided medical support to over three million people, installed water purification systems in more than 200 rural schools in ten provinces and provided nearly half of a million free meals to elderly citizens living alone across China, said Alibaba chief marketing officer Chris Tung. 

During this year’s 11.11, the proceeds will mainly be used to support three groups of people: elderly living alone, children left in remote areas while their parents work in cities, and low-income households in developing regions, according to Tung.  

Chris Tung Goods For Good
Chris Tung said Alibaba wants to get more people involved in charitable activities. Photo Credit: Alibaba Group

11:40 CST, October 28, Hangzhou

Better Together: Alibaba Platforms Join Up Ahead of 11.11

Alibaba Group chief marketing officer Chris Tung stepped into the shoes of shoppers on Wednesday to describe his vision for a seamless browsing experience between the company’s e-commerce platforms. 

“As a consumer, I’d want to be able to browse freely from platform to platform and have an overall convenient online shopping experience,” said Tung on Wednesday. “But as an Alibaba employee, the openness excites me even more.”

Bridging these gaps also improves operational efficiency for merchants, who are able to engage in more promotional initiatives on their Tmall flagship stores.

Openness is the name of the game this 11.11, from sustainable practices with community-wide benefits to greater collaboration between Alibaba platforms and brands outside the company ecosystem.

“Our business brands like Taobao Deals and Idle Fish are applying to open Mini-Programs on WeChat, [while] Youku, Damai, and Kaola have also activated WeChat Pay to process platform transactions,” he said.

Offering a presence on other social sites is in line with Alibaba’s focus on greater social inclusivity. We are already seeing the benefits of these collaborative efforts, he added. For the first time, shoppers will be able to make purchases with UnionPay and other payment partners this 11.11.

18:43 CST, October 27, Hangzhou

Green Home Appliances are Stars of the Pre-Sale Show 

More than 20,000 shoppers scooped up green home appliances during the first two hours of 11.11 pre-sales on October 20, helping to save 300 tons of carbon emissions that would otherwise come from the manufacturing and use of inefficient devices. 

The products, ranging from refrigerators to heaters, hold an official Green Product Certification that buyers can redeem green shopping vouchers on. Purchasing these eco-friendly appliances will also earn consumers Alipay Ant Forest points that they can watch become real trees planted in China’s dry regions.

Alibaba Group is turning up the heat on its fight against climate change and has shifted its focus from pure GMV growth to sustainable growth for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, said chief marketing officer Chris Tung.

“This year, we are making sustainability the heart of the festival,” Tung told international media at a panel on Wednesday, stressing the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and promote green consumption among consumers. 

“We believe that behavioral change is essential to ensuring a sustainable future, which is why, as the creator and leader of the 11.11 Festival, Alibaba aims to play an important role in driving those positive changes,” said Tung.

RMB100 million (US$15.7 million) worth of green shopping vouchers will be given away at the newly launched “Green Marketplace” where consumers can find more than 50,000 products with officially sanctioned Green Product Certification.

To curb carbon emission from package disposal, Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics arm, will introduce package recycling across 60,000 post pick-up points. The company will also partner up with brands to create plastic-free recyclable packaging, in addition to leveraging technologies from Cainiao, including its algorithm that can help save up space in packaging.

18:18 CST, October 27, Hangzhou

Tmall Global has ramped up preparations under the watch of general manager Anita Lyu.

Thanks to recent upgrades, brands using Tmall Global can include short videos from influencers and Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) on their product pages, while a freshly launched warehouse network facilitates next-day deliveries in China. What’s more, a new production facility is helping global manufacturers customize products for Chinese consumers.

For categories like food and nutritional supplements— where consumers highly value quality and freshness — Tmall Global has introduced a model that helps brands process and repackage their ingredients and raw materials into products tailored for Chinese consumers in our bonded warehouses.

It is also enhancing logistics services based on different industry needs. For example, it also worked with Cainiao Network to launch a dedicated perfume flight route and create special packaging to address safety concerns of transporting small-batch fragrances to China via air.

To read and watch our interview with Lyu click here

16:20 CST, October 27, Hangzhou

Level Unlocked: Livestreaming Channels Hit RMB10 Million in Pre-Sales

Seven days in and 165 Taobao livestreaming channels have reached more than RMB10 million (US$1.6 million) in total pre-sales, the platform announced.

Taobao Live, used by brands to promote products on Taobao’s virtual marketplace, launched a range of new livestreaming features ahead of this year’s 11.11 including content marketing resources and brand channel membership programs, Alibaba Group chief marketing officer Chris Tung told an international press panel on Wednesday.

More improvements are in the pipeline. The company will continue to upgrade livestreaming capabilities on its e-commerce platforms to increase viewer engagement, Tung explained, as well as building better brick-and-mortar livestreaming centers.

Chris Tung Livestreaming
Chris Tung announced the sales figure update at a panel with international media on Wednesday.  Photo Credit: Alibaba Group

While merchants and shoppers are connecting via livestream, the Alibaba executive shared the company’s own efforts to strengthen cooperation between its own platforms.

Taobao Deal and Idle Fish have applied to open Mini-programs on WeChat, while consumers can use WeChat Pay on the company’s ecosystem platforms including, Youku, Damai, and Kaola. 

Also for the first time, Taobao will be accepting Union Pay as a payment option.

14:54 CST, October 27, Hangzhou

Go Green or Go Home This 11.11

Alibaba Group is encouraging shoppers to consume with care at this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Chris Tung, the company’s chief marketing officer.

“With the influence and reach of 11.11, I think this is the best chance for us to not only help to sell the products but also to deliver the message to shift consumer mindset to a more sustainable consumption concept,” Tung told international media at a panel on Wednesday.

Low Carbon 11 11
Eco-friendly is the name of the game for 11.11, as this Tmall presentation explains. Photo Credit: Alibaba Group

The company slashed the carbon footprint for its 6.18 shopping bonanza by upgrading its green logistics network and promoting the use of green energy at its energy-intensive data centers. This year, Alibaba vows to make its 11.11 Shopping Festival even greener, with a series of measures taken across its business units, and incentives introduced to push consumers to go green. 

Tmall is encouraging shoppers to explore eco-friendly brands and products with a dedicated vertical, while RMB100 million (US$15.7 million) worth of green shopping vouchers will be given away. From Wednesday on, consumers can redeem vouchers that offer RMB100 off every RMB1000 spent, or RMB10 off every RMB100 spent for every eco-friendly product purchase on Tmall. 

Alibaba is also working with brand partners to develop products with lower carbon footprints and create plastic-free recyclable packaging, according to Tung. 

“We believe that behavioral change is essential to ensuring a sustainable future, which is why, as the creator and leader of the 11.11 Festival, Alibaba aims to play an important role in driving those positive changes,” he noted.  

14:24 CST, October 27, Hangzhou

Tmall Bumps Up 11.11 Discounts and Rebates

Shoppers can expect bigger discounts than ever at this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Tmall’s head of consumer marketing Zheng Liqing announced at an international media panel on Wednesday. 

Cross-store rebates at the Alibaba Group-owned online marketplace increased from RMB40 (US$6.3) off every RMB300 spent to RMB30 off every RMB200 spent. Tmall also moved up the pre-sale start time from 12 pm to 8 pm this year and will continue to provide shoppers with two sales windows during 11.11.

“Over the past 12 years, 11.11 has consistently been the bed of innovation in the retail industry and much of it has revolved around elevating and improving the consumer experience,” said Zheng during the panel.

In the same spirit, Tmall now offers users an 11.11 must-buy list and a “shopping cart sharing” feature, allowing consumers to share their shopping cart with friends online.

18:40 CST, October 26, Hangzhou

How Alibaba’s 11.11 Shopping Festival is Going Green 

Alibaba Group’s logistics arm will introduce package recycling across 60,000 post pick-up points during this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, said Niu Zhijing, Cainiao Network Vice President and head of the Go Green campaign. 

70% of the packages Cainiao handles each year are sent with old shipping boxes recycled at the logistics network’s post stations, said Niu, at a panel held on Tuesday at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou.

Cainiao is committed to further expand the scale of recycling for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, as the company vows to make sustainability and inclusiveness the central themes of this year’s shopping bonanza. 

Cainiao’s green ambition dates back to 2017, when it first unveiled a “green logistics” master plan. By digitizing its delivery services—granting a digital ID to every package—it has significantly reduced the user of paper, a major source of carbon emission. It also rolled out recycling stations for cardboard boxes across the country in the same year, where consumers can leave unwanted shipping boxes for reuse or recycling. 

During this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Cainiao will offer RMB3 worth of vouchers to consumers that reuse or recycle the old cardboard boxes. It also partnered with more than 200 brands to promote the use of green packaging. For any brand that uses Cainiao’s algorithm to save up space in packaging, or refrains from the use of tape in packaging, they will be granted a green certification from the logistics network. 

In the same spirit, Alibaba will also slash its carbon footprint by making its data centers green, said Li Cheng, Alibaba’s chief technology officer, at the panel. The company slashed its carbon emission during this year’s 6.18 shopping bonanza and is committed to keep on reducing its carbon footprint during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, he added. 

Alibaba Cloud’s data center in Zhangbei County in Northwestern China will further increase its use of clean power. 30 million kwh of electricity will be powered by clean energy at the data center during this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, which will see a reduction of 26,000 tonnes of carbon emission compared with last year, Cheng said. 

17:34 CST, October 26, Hangzhou

Go Green with Sustainable Vouchers on Tmall

Alibaba Group’s online marketplace Tmall will offer RMB100 million (US$15.7 million) worth of green shopping vouchers as part of its green 11.11 Global Shopping Festival initiative, the company announced Tuesday. 

From Wednesday on, shoppers will be able to earn and redeem the vouchers, one part of Alibaba’s plan to reduce the carbon footprint of business operations and incentivize consumers to shop sustainability.

“Going green has already become a major trend among consumers in China, and the platform can play a major role in promoting the green consumption trend,” said An Xin, head of Tmall Consumer Marketing at a panel with media held at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou.

The festival has always been about bringing together consumers and merchants, but this year the focus is about creating social value for the whole community, she added.

Tmall will launch a dedicated vertical to highlight eco-friendly brands and products for consumers. More than 50,000 products with officially sanctioned Green Product Certification have won green labels on Tmall. 

The online marketplace will also collaborate with Alibaba’s used-goods marketplace, Idle Fish, to offer a trade-in program for old electronic devices. Consumers can gain credit by trading in their old electronic appliances for newer, more energy-efficient ones. 

“We want to make going green mainstream this year,” noted An Xin.

Shoppers can earn energy points on Alipay Ant Forest for their green purchases, and watch as  their virtual points become real trees planted in China’s arid regions. Buying home appliance with  the top energy efficiency label will earn 18,400 energy points on Alipay, the equivalent to one tree.

11:08 CST, October 25, Hangzhou

Tmall Helps People with Disabilities Buy Single Shoes

Alibaba Group’s online marketplace Tmall launched a “One Shoe Program” last Friday, making it easier for people with physical disabilities to buy footwear.

Launched ahead of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, consumers can now buy one shoe for half the price of a pair on participating brands’ Tmall flagship stores.

The program seeks to provide a more inclusive shopping experience for people with disabilities. There are around 85 million people with disabilities in China, according to China Disabled Persons’ Federation.  

Seven big-name brands are taking part in the program, including Sketchers, Reebok and ECCO.

Reebok said it adjusted its design, supply chain and inventory levels to better serve the demands of people with disabilities. “It is not as simple as selling two shoes separately,” said a brand representative from Reebok in a statement. 

He added that offline retailers have limited capacity to serve people with special needs, but moving sales online makes it much more accessible.  

Tmall one shoe program press conference
A box for a single shoe, displayed at a Tmall press conference to launch the unique service. Photo credit: Alibaba Group

The “One Shoe Program” is part of Alibaba’s efforts to make the marketplace more inclusive to consumers, a central theme of this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

In the same spirit, Tmall established a dedicated vertical for people with disabilities to help them find the particular goods they need. The platform launched a dedicated vertical for seniors, featuring product displays with more prominent text and icons and simplified navigation.

16:00 CST, October 21, Shanghai

Over 200 Luxury Brands Taking Part in 11.11, Riding Wave of Demand

On Thursday, the first day of 11.11 pre-sales, the head of Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Division Janet Wang sat down with local media in Shanghai, sharing some key highlights to watch during this 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

She expects this year’s event to be their biggest 11.11 campaign yet, with more than 200 luxury and designer brands are participating – including Hermes and Saint Laurent for the first time.

From their initial sales figures, Wang pointed to watches, handbags and jewelry as categories that have particularly seen marked growth.

“The pandemic has marked an important shift in consumers’ shopping habits. Since consumers can no longer travel overseas, they’re looking for different ways to delight themselves and improve their lifestyles,” Wang said. More people have turned to online platforms in China, such as Tmall Luxury Pavilion, to shop luxury goods and seek new experiences

Janet Wang Tmall Luxury Pavilion
Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s Janet Wang, speaking in Shanghai on Thursday. Photo: Alibaba Group

“Consumers today aren’t satisfied with just two-dimensional images and texts,” Wang said. “They want to use 3D technology to see the product’s details and texture from different angles, use AR to try on watches, jewelry and shoes. These experiences help close the distance between luxury brands and the consumer.”

This 11.11, Tmall Luxury Pavilion shoppers can expect to see more interactive experiences, from AR watch-fitting to 3D tours of Marriott hotel suites

Over the next few weeks, Tmall Luxury Pavilion will also roll out a series of online-to-offline events, from pop-up stores to a digital art gallery in the metaverse, held in collaboration with brands including Coach. It will also bring more services traditionally available only in brands’ physical stores online, including bespoke engraving and aftersales maintenance and repair services.

20:15 CST, October 20, Shanghai

Boosting Customer Loyalty and Engagement

This 11.11 will feature two sale periods, giving consumers more time to browse and explore the 14 million promotions on offer. The first official wave of sales will run from November 1 to 3, followed by a second round on November 11.

Members of brand loyalty programs can expect to see more perks and benefits, as thousands of brands rev up exclusive privileges to engage their top customers, everything from limited-edition offerings and member-only vouchers to complementary after-sales maintenance and repairs.

Nike, for example, launched a first-of-its-kind program allowing Tmall members to customize their avatars and join online-to-offline sports challenges to unlock special perks during the mega sale.

88VIPs – Alibaba’s own loyalty members – will each receive additional vouchers worth RMB1,800 combined, as well as discounts on movie tickets sold on Alibaba’s ticketing service Tao Piao Piao and ride-hailing services via Amap, the company’s map and navigation app. 88VIP members will also gain access to exclusive shipping perks, including a rapid-refund service.

Livestreaming, which has become a go-to mode of shopping in China, has continued to pick up steam. Starting Oct. 20, more than 700 influencers, celebrities and brand executives will make appearances and doll out lucrative promotions in broadcasts on Taobao Live, Alibaba’s dedicated livestreaming platform.

To engage shoppers, the company also released a social feature inviting consumers to share the products they bookmarked in their virtual “shopping trolleys” with friends and family.

15:22 CST, October 20, Shanghai

Ready, Set, Shop! Alibaba Group Kicks Off 2021 11.11 with a Green Twist

Alibaba Group kicked off its 13th annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with an emphasis on sustainability and inclusiveness.

This year marks the largest Festival to date, with a record 290,000 brands participating. Alibaba’s business-to-consumer online marketplace Tmall is offering more than 14 million deals to over 900 million consumers in China

“Over the last 12 years, 11.11 has showcased the tremendous consumption power of Chinese consumers and pushed boundaries for the global retail sector,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba Group.

The Festival will once again have two sales windows – the first will be from November 1 to 3, and the second will be on November 11, on the day of the main event.

Online marketplace Taobao will roll out a feature for users to share their “shopping cart” items with friends and family, creating a more social shopping experience.

Livestreaming will be a key consumer engagement mechanism for brands and merchants to build awareness and drive sales. Starting on October 20 throughout the Festival, Alibaba’s dedicated livestreaming channel, Taobao Live, will feature 700 leading KOLs, celebrities and brand representatives in livestream sessions.

11.11 Global Shopping Festival
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