- Alibaba raked in a record 540.3 billion Chinese yuan ($84.54 billion) in orders over Singles' Day.
- That's a jump of 8.45% from last year's shopping extravaganza, but the lowest growth rate in the event's history.
- The moderation comes amid a slowdown in Chinese consumption as the government cracks down on everything.
Alibaba raked in a record 540.3 billion Chinese yuan ($84.54 billion) in orders over Singles' Day, the world's biggest shopping festival. That's a jump of 8.45% from last year's shopping extravaganza – but it's also the lowest growth rate in the event's history.
It's also the shopping festival's first single-digit growth year since the Chinese ecommerce giant created the event in 2009.
Alibaba sold 498.2 Chinese yuan ($78 billion in today's exchange rate) worth of products over the 11-day shopping event last year.
The moderation comes as Chinese economic growth has slowed amid a relentless government crackdown.
This year, gone were the celebrations of unbridled consumption with a live counter tallying sales. Instead, the focus was on social responsibility and sustainability, with Alibaba highlighting environmentally friendly products and charity initiatives.
"Alibaba's 11.11 just set a new record, but it's looking beyond numbers," Alibaba's blog announced. Sustainability and inclusivity targets should be taken into account too, the post added.
"In the early stages of 11.11, we focused on growth - the same way that parents would focus on a child's height and strength. But as a child becomes a teenager, the parents shift their focus to nurturing the child's sense of responsibility: the role he or she plays in society. That is what we're doing now," said Alibaba's Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Tung, in the post.
Singles' Day retailers also played it low-key this year due to Beijing's crackdown on everything from tech to wealth, as President Xi Jinping touts a more equal society with "common prosperity."
"The 'worship of turnover' is not just unsustainable in terms of growth in numbers, but is also inextricably linked to chaos," said the State-backed Securities Times on Friday.