That compares with an 8.5 per cent rise in GMV last year and a 26 per cent jump in 2020. Before 2020, the festival was a one-day event.
But Citi predicts rival e-commerce giant JD.com, which also holds a Singles Day shopping event, to fare somewhat better as it is strong in consumer electronics and home appliance offerings which are expected to remain popular.
JD’s GMV growth is likely to slow to between 4.6 per cent and 8.9 per cent compared to 28.6 per cent last year, it said.
This year is the first time that Alibaba won’t host either a celebrity gala show, which in the past has featured appearances from Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift, or an event on Nov 11 that culminates in a countdown to the final GMV tally.
The cancellations were due to COVID-19 curbs, it said, although similar events have been held online in the past two years.
Singles Day has also had contend with the absence of one its two live-streaming mega sales gurus, Viya, who has been offline since being fined for tax evasion. Alibaba also decided not to feature the other, Li Jiaqi, in its marketing for its event.
Brands told Reuters they were being realistic about this year’s prospects.
“The platform has definitely tried to cool down the expectations from brands,” said Mauro Maggioni, Asia Pacific chief executive at high-end sneaker brand Golden Goose.
Alibaba has said loyal and VIP customers will be key to the event this year and that it is also focusing on developing merchants’ loyalty programmes. Alibaba’s membership program has more than 25 million members who spend an average of 57,000 yuan annually on its platforms.
“Alibaba has tried to make (the event) less about just dropping prices,” said Mark Tanner, chief executive of Shanghai-based consultancy, China Skinny.
“But it seems most consumers, particularly in the current environment, just want cheaper goods.”