Alibaba Pulls In Record ‘Singles Day’ Sales

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A healthy showman, Mr. Ma is customarily an outsize appearance during a gala—but not this year. In September, he pronounced he skeleton to retire subsequent year as executive authority and palm a reins to Chief Executive Daniel Zhang.

Mr. Ma was benefaction during a event, though didn’t take his common star spin on stage. Instead, he seemed in a prerecorded video that showed him competing opposite Alibaba employees during tasks including delivering meals, taping packages and tieing adult crabs.

An Alibaba deputy pronounced a founder’s appearance in a annual celebration is “different each year.”

Late Sunday night, Mr. Ma showed adult during a media center’s area showcasing Alibaba’s business units and stopped several times to admire a record on view, including a robotic arm that churned and poured a cocktail. “Not bad,” he pronounced in front of a vanquish of Alibaba employees.

Alibaba owner Jack Ma during Sunday’s Singles Day eventuality in Shanghai.

Sunday was seen as a exam for Mr. Zhang, who pronounced during a media lecture late Sunday that he sees assisting ascent and technology brick-and-mortar stores to be essential to expanding Singles Day and a association in a future. “People always ask, ‘Daniel, what is a roof to this?’ ” he said. “But currently if we demeanour during normal online [spending in China], it’s 20% of consumption.”

Expanding Alibaba’s strech serve offline will “greatly extend a addressable market,” he said.

Singles Day has boomed along with China’s rising center class, and a day has now turn a litmus exam for an economy grappling with descending skill prices, flighty batch markets and a tit-for-tat trade spat.

At a media briefing, Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai concurred that a trade fight competence negatively impact China’s economy in a brief term. But a call of increasingly abundant consumers is expected to lift both a nation and a company, he said.

“There are 300 million [in China’s] center class. In a subsequent 10, 15 years, that series will double to 600 million,” Mr. Tsai said. “That series is not going to stop, trade fight or no trade war.”

Faced with short-term mercantile uncertainty, however, Alibaba cut a full-year foresee progressing this month by as most as 6% as expansion slowed in categories such as consumer electronics. For now, a association has gifted slower expansion in big-ticket equipment such as soaking machines and refrigerators tied to a slack in a skill market, Mr. Tsai said.

Overall, online sell sales expansion in China slowed to 24% in a third quarter, down from 36% in a prior quarter, according to a National Bureau of Statistics.

Attendees awaited sales-figure updates during Alibaba’s Singles Day selling eventuality in Shanghai. The e-commerce hulk logged $30.8 billion in sales for a 24 hours that began during 12 a.m. Sunday.

Shenzhen proprietor Zhang Yi, 25 years old, pronounced he has reined in his spending as acceleration has strike housing and food prices. The English clergyman pronounced he has cut down on dishes out and recently changed after a lease on his prior unit was lifted scarcely 25%.

Mr. Zhang spent as most as 1,000 yuan ($145) on past Singles Days, mostly shopping garments and skin-care products. “This year, to save money, we won’t buy anything,” he said.

But some shoppers were still fervent to burst on any bargains. Jessica Cui of Beijing pronounced she has turn some-more courteous about purchasing equipment she unequivocally needs. But she designed to bombard out for skin-care products and dash out some-more on domicile equipment on Singles Day. “There’s always something out there you’re 100% certain to buy, something we truly love,” pronounced Ms. Cui, 33, who works for a government.

Despite such pressures, Alibaba still managed to tip final year’s record as it focused on new areas of growth, including tellurian markets, food smoothness and brick-and-mortar stores.

For a initial time, Lazada Group, Alibaba’s e-commerce arm formed in Singapore, rolled out Singles Day sales in 6 Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

Alibaba’s introduced Singles Day promotions to a supermarket sequence Hema, food-delivery use Ele.me and its

Yelp

-like online height Koubei for a initial time.

Singles Day was creatively recognised as a holiday for China’s immature people to applaud their unique state. Its name in Chinese—“Single Sticks Holiday”—is subsequent from a date on Nov. 11, or 11/11.

Write to Shan Li during shan.li@wsj.com

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