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China’s Singles Day: an $18bn opportunity

China’s Singles Day is an opportunity there for the taking for UK retailers and brands, says Mei Chen, international business development lead at Alibaba Group.

Speaking at Drapers Fashion Forum 2017 in London, Chen said the sales generated during the one-day event are too good for international brands to miss: “It’s an opportunity there for the taking. It dwarfs other markets.”

Singles Day takes place on 11 November. On the day last year, Alibaba made $17.8bn (£13.5bn) in 24 hours.

Around 90% of sales took place via mobiles. Chen said more than 60% of its 466 million active customers are under the age of 30, and as a result Alibaba focuses on social media, video and live streaming to grab the attention of younger shoppers.

“Consumers spend 26 minutes per day on Alibaba – that compares with five to six minutes on marketplaces in the west. In the UK it’s just about getting in and getting out – it is very transactional.

“For us it is about a lifestyle: it’s a community, we offer entertainment, live streams and links to social.”

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