How Alibaba uses big data to understand China’s shoppers

China’s online shoppers are anticipated to spend more than US$1 trillion online in the next 12 months. By 2019 sales are
projected to total nearly $2 trillion, more than 3.6 times as much as the U.S.
At the heart of China’s online shopping story is Alibaba, whose rise from fledgling startup to the world’s biggest e-commerce
player caught many established competitors off-guard.
Alibaba’s US$25 billion initial public offering – the largest in history – made the brand a household name outside of China and
the fourth most valuable tech company by market cap, ahead of Facebook, IBM and Oracle. Alibaba-owned websites now hold
an estimated 80% of total online shopping market share in mainland China. Its 2015 Singles Day promotion alone generated
more than US$14 billion in sales – a 60% increase on the previous year and a total that eclipsed Facebook’s entire 2014
Alibaba’s online numbers are staggering – but it’s only a part of their role in the Chinese retail story.
Alibaba Group’s Director of Big Data and Technology, Danfeng Li, estimates that online shopping makes up less than 20% of
China’s total retail landscape, which is estimated by UBS to have grown six-fold since 2000.
For Alibaba, the focus is not just on continuing its own extraordinary growth in the online sector but putting itself squarely in
the middle of China’s offline retail landscape by using big data from its own consumers to fuel China’s online to offline
Li spoke frankly about how Alibaba is using its consumer data expertise to drive online to offline conversions in China at the
MRMW 2016 conference in Kuala Lumpur. Download the full presentation.

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