Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, also known as Double 11 or Singles’ Day, takes place on November 11 every year and it has now become the world’s biggest 24-hour online sale. This report series covers the various shopping festivals and developments in New Retail that have already happened or will take place till this event.

  • Alibaba’s most recent shopping event was the Kitchen Appliances Mega Sale held September 20–22. During the promotion period, many brands participated, including Haier, Midea, Supor, Panasonic and Philips. 
  • At this mega sale, a wide range of kitchen appliances was sold at steep discounts. A Midea microwave, for instance, was sold at a discount of 76%.
  • Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial has collaborated with mall operator Sino Group to explore New Retail opportunities. Ant Financial’s AlipayHK has opened an unstaffed pop-up store in Hong Kong where customers’ shopping experience is simplified by using smile recognition and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies. The store is called AlipayHK Next Store.
  • Customers enter AlipayHK Next Store using smile recognition technology and complete their shopping journey by automatically scanning and paying for purchased items using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. 

Countdown to 11.11

Since its launch in 2009, Double 11 has become synonymous with online shopping festivals in China. It has also led to the launch of many other shopping festivals, such as 6.18 Shopping Festival, held June 1–18 and 8.8 Members Festival on August 8. These events are listed in Figure 1.

Recent Festivals

Kitchen Appliances Mega Sale

This week, Tmall hosted the Kitchen Appliances Mega Sale that was held September 20–22. The event promoted kitchen appliances, such as rice cookers, microwaves, soy milk makers, electric kettles, coffee machines and water purifiers. Many brands participated in this sale, including Midea, Delonghi, Joyoung, Supor, Haier, Panasonic and Philips.

In this sale, a wide range of products was sold at discounts of up to 75%. A Midea microwave, for example, sold at a 76% discount on the regular price of ¥549 (US$ 80) and a Supor rice cooker sold at more than 75% off on its regular price of ¥1,499 (US$ 218). As of September 20, over 6,982 units of kitchen appliances had been sold at Tmall. The discounts offered on some of the products that featured in Tmall are listed in Figure2.

What’s New in New Retail?

AlipayHK Unstaffed Store

AlipayHK is showcasing its New Retail concept at AlipayHK Next Store—a 4,000-square-foot unstaffedstore in Sino Group’s Olympian City mall—which sells fashion items, and is open until October 1.

The two new-age technologies that are used to run this store are:

Smile recognition technology: The store’s entrance makes use of this technology to detect the facial expression of a shopper’s smile and then generate a QR code. The shopper’s e-wallet then scans this QR code and opens the gate.

RFID: When customers place their selected products onto the checkout desk, the RFID system there scans the products and generates a bill with a QR code. Consumers can then scan the QR code in their smartphones and pay for purchases made using Alipay.

Besides AlipayHK Next Store, there have been many other noteworthy developments in New Retail and these are listed in Figure 3. 

Investments and Acquisitions in New Retail

To expand their New Retail capacities, Alibaba, Tencent and have invested in logistics firms, online marketplaces, content creation companies and brick-and-mortar stores. Listed in Figures 4, 5 and 6 are recent investments of and acquisitions by these companies, along with investment dates, investees and the industry segments they are in, and funding details.

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