As the end of 2019 fast approaches, Alibaba begins its annual ritual leading up to one of the world’s largest e-commerce shopping festivals: 11.11. Beginning in 2009, the 11.11 shopping festival saw participation from just 27 merchants as an event to raise awareness about the value of online shopping.

In 2018, more than 180,000 brands and merchants participated in the event, with consumers spending RMB213.5 billion (US$30.8 billion) during the 24-hour period. To kick-off the new decade of the annual celebration, the festival will be focusing on  “new consumption,” “new business” and actively contributing to a greener society.

“Our goal is to stimulate consumption demand and support lifestyle upgrade in China through new brands and products. We will enable merchants in China and around the world to grow their businesses through data-driven product innovation and consumer insights, as well as leverage our recommendation technology and content-driven user engagement to delight consumers in urban coastal cities and less-developed areas of China,“ said Fan Jiang, president of Taobao and Tmall. “Given its scale, minimizing environmental impact is essential and our technology will ensure it is a green 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.”

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, which culminates on November 11, taps a global supply chain to meet the growing demand of Chinese consumers for new brands and new products. Over 200,000 brands are expected to be participating this year with an estimated one million new products on offer.

More than 22,000 brands from 78 countries and regions will also be participating in this year’s 11.11 festival on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border online marketplace, providing an expansive international product selection for consumers. While continuing to serve over 200 countries and regions, AliExpress will enable local merchants from Russia, Spain, Italy and Turkey to participate in 11.11 for the first time.

Alibaba is also shifting more of its focus towards lesser-developed markets. For the first time, the company held a concurrent kick-off even in the north-eastern city of Harbin, China. In the last quarter, over 70 per cent of Alibaba’s new annual active consumers came from lower-tier cities.

“The success of our focus on less developed markets in China is reflected in our new customer acquisition growth,” said Alibaba Group CMO Chris Tung. “We are equally driven to help local enterprises and factories digitize, which improve their operational efficiency and ability to engage with customers across the country.”

Following the festival, Cainiao and its partners will make November 20th a day focused on the recycling of cardboard packaging. They will work to convert 75,000 locations into permanent recycling stations, and express courier companies to pick up used cardboard boxes and wrapping.

In an effort to meet its goals of going green, Alibaba Cloud expects to save 200,000 kilowatt hours of energy at its data centres on 11 November by utilising renewable energy and power conserving technology. Consumers will also be incentivised to recycle their packaging from the festival through a rewards program on Ant Forest.

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