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    Alibaba launches presales ahead of Singles Day to bolster sales as retail market slows

    Alibaba’s annual Singles Day (11.11) will kick off in late October with an extended presales campaign to bolster the success of the world’s largest online shopping festival.

    This year’s event will launch on October 24, with presales enabling consumers to pay deposits to secure items and make a final payment before Singles Day.  

    It comes as Chinese consumers face renewed Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the impact of earthquake and drought, and a flagging economy.

    It also follows sweeping changes to the ecommerce industry as a result of government regulations and an overall slowing of the meteoric growth of online retail in China.

    Analyst forecasts predict sales results for this year’s Singles Day will be down from previous years due to the shifting economic fortunes in China.

    Alibaba’s 2021 event reported $84.4 billion in sales; however, despite outperforming the 2020 event, the growth was the slowest rate since the event began in 2009.

    Alibaba is China’s biggest ecommerce platform by market share, and its annual sales event is viewed as a bellwether for China’s retail market, particularly ecommerce.

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    However, the ecommerce giant is under pressure from increased competition as platforms such as Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok – grow their share of the ecommerce market.

    Alibaba’s oldest rival JD.com reported a 10.3% increase in sales for its annual 6.18 shopping festival in June; however, this represented the slowest growth on record.

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    Despite economic stimulus, China’s retail market is slowing, while June and July sales figures increased by 3.1% and 2.7%, respectively, both periods were lower than expectations.

    While China’s ecommerce sales are still expected to increase by 9.1% this year, with consumers expected to spend $240.13 billion more than last year, according to eMarketer.

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