How Alibaba uses big data to understand China's shoppers

Anna Hamill

Read Part Two of the series on how Alibaba uses first and third party data to develop campaigns for China's offline retail sector.

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 revenue.