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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 28, 2015 • Issue 15:12:02

Mobile tech drives global holiday spend

Early retail reports from the holiday shopping season showed increased e-commerce activity around the globe. Consumers in the United States and China were the most active shoppers, purchasing low-price, high-quality U.S. merchandise, analysts stated.

"Consumers right now are getting great value for significantly less this holiday season given the deflationary environment that continues to impact overall trends in spending," said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist at the National Retail Federation. "Additionally, the broadening of the holiday season, warmer than normal weather patterns and a shift in spending toward services remain the top challenges for retailers right now."

The NRF released a report Dec. 11, 2015, covering the first half of the holiday season, sharing U.S. Commerce Department data that revealed a 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted increase and unadjusted year-over-year increase of 1.4 percent. Following are additional report highlights:

  • Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted over October and decreased 1.6 percent unadjusted over the last year.
  • Sales at general merchandise stores increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 1.4 percent year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 1.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores' sales decreased 0.3 percent over the previous month and increased 4.9 percent unadjusted over last year.

E-commerce days

In addition, Amazon.com introduced Prime Day on April 15, 2015, a one-day shopping event featuring exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members. The event drew mixed reviews from retail analysts who noted that the best deals of the day were on Amazon-branded products, many of which sold out quickly. However, Amazon noted that Prime Day sales exceeded 2014's Black Friday, claiming to have sold tens of thousands of Fire TV sticks, DVDs and miscellaneous merchandise within the first fifteen minutes of the event.

Ant Financial Services Group, parent company of Alipay, held a Singles Day Global Shopping Festival Nov. 11, 2015 (dubbed 11.11), reportedly processing $14.3 billion, the most shopping revenue ever reported in a single day, with mobile payments accounting for 68.7 percent of overall volume.

"This day demonstrates the power of domestic China consumption, and the Chinese consumer's strong demand for international products," said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer at Alibaba Group. "It also showcases how Alibaba uses big data, cloud computing and mobile innovations to create the best shopping experience for buyers and sellers."

Global Fest highlights

Buyers and sellers from 232 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Australia and the United States, participated in the 11.11 event. More than 16,000 international brands were represented, and 33 percent of shoppers purchased merchandise from global retailers.

The 2015 11.11 shopping event reflected Alibaba's globalization strategy of enabling Chinese consumers to purchase authentic merchandise from leading retailers worldwide, the company stated. Additional highlights from the Nov. 11 festival include:

  • Total revenue of $14.3 billion, a 60 percent increase in total sales compared with 2014
  • Total mobile volume of $9.8 billion, a 158 percent increase over 2014, accounting for 68.7 percent of total revenue
  • A total of 95 million mobile buyers
  • Total processing volume of 710 million payment transactions, with 85,900 transactions per second at peak

Alipay's ePass express lane

A report released Dec. 3 by Ant Financial measured holiday sales activity between Nov. 17 and Nov. 30., finding that Chinese consumers spent 15 times more with U.S. retailers compared to the same period last year. The ecommerce giant attributed the increased spend to widespread adoption of its Alipay ePass program, an ecommerce platform launched Sept. 2014 that enables leading U.S. retailers to sell and ship directly to Chinese consumers.

Alipay US President Jingming Li said, "With better logistics and localized payment options now available to make cross-border purchases, we expect this tremendous growth of Chinese consumers to continue throughout the holiday season, particularly as U.S. e-commerce retailers provide more discounts and promotions." end of article

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