The North Face was among the ten top sellers at Singles Day, the annual online shopping festival organized by the Alibaba Group on its Tmall online platform on Nov. 11. More than 200,000 brands participated in the shopping event, compared with 180,000 last year.
The gross merchandise value (GMV) hit a record of 268.4 billion yuan renmimbi (€34.7bn-$38.3bn), eclipsing last year's score by 26 percent, thanks in part to a longer pre-sales period, a larger assortment of discounted products, the extension of the festival to new markets outside China and a wider use of live streaming.
The hype around Singles Day was softened by a call for the implementation of new packaging and package recycling standards by Greenpeace in Beijing, which estimates last year's fest generated 250,000 tons of waste from the delivery of 1.88 billion packages to Chinese customers in five days. Greenpeace estimates that the waste accumulated annually by e-commerce and express delivery services in China will more than quadruple to 41.3 million tons by 2025, adding that only 5 percent of the related plastic packaging is recycled.
Last month, the Chinese government published new proposals for packaging standards that would restrict courier services to use certain recyclable materials. For its part, Alibaba and its couriers have set up 75,000 recycling stations for shipping boxes and bags throughout the country. It declared Nov. 20 “National Cardboard Box Recycling Day,” encouraging customers to turn in boxes at certain recycling stations in return for “green energy” points that can be redeemed to plant trees in arid areas of China.