Amazon vs. Alibaba: Which Is Winning the E-Commerce Wars?

More than 70 per cent of orders were placed on mobile devices during Lazada’s Singles’ Day sales

Chinese consumers have spent billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on "Singles Day", a day of promotions that has grown into the world's biggest e-commerce event.

But like Amazon in the U.S., Alibaba has a strategy to integrate online shopping with brick-and-mortar stores, which still make up 85% of total retail sales, according to the company.

The event generated $123 million of gross merchandise value for online platform Lazada, representing a 171% increase since last year's Singles Day.

"I have often emptied my "shopping cart" on Singles Day", Zheng said.

As for the USA retailing equivalents just after Thanksgiving, for years the sales figures in China on Singles Day have blown past the totals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. "We could take the gala overseas very soon", Zhang said.

PChome invited singers, such as South Korea's Hyeon-a and Taiwan's Show Luo (羅志祥), for a three-hour Singles' Day event from 9pm to midnight Friday night and broadcast the show on its Web site and its social network accounts. The online shopper bought 168 billion yuan (22 billion euro) worth of products, thanks to Alibaba's discounts. About 80% consumers on Alibaba's shopping app are younger than 25, which demonstrates the trust that up-and-coming consumer groups place in mobile transactions. Billionaire founder Jack Ma is using it as a testing ground for his plans to revamp China's $4 trillion traditional retail sector with technology, an experiment that could help the behemoth gain an edge in China's saturated market.

Now, it's become an excuse for people to shop and binge on entertainment shows.

The event is so successful and popular because Alibaba is so strongly vertically integrated.

China's growth rate and the burgeoning relevance of its consumers are "easily" the most important influences on the global economy, according to the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

The event gets shoppers around China scouting for bargains and loading up their online shopping carts, while delivery men - and robots - brace for an estimated 1.5 billion parcels expected over the next six days. For example, Alipay dealt with over a billion transactions and Cainao delivered 657 million packages in 24-hours on Singles Day.

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