SHANGHAI: Singles’ Day, the annual shopping event hosted by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is expected to generate a record 152bn yuan ($23bn) in sales this year and British brands are on course to perform well, according to industry predictions.

Reporting ahead of the much-anticipated shopping extravaganza that is due to launch at midnight this Friday, consulting firm Oliver Wyman made its sales forecast on the grounds that there will be heightened demand for imported goods this year.

In addition, more overseas consumers are expected to take part which, South China Morning Post reported, emphasises the importance of cross-border e-commerce promotions in the event.

Alibaba has announced already that its shopping festival will host 140,000 brands this year and – as the event goes global – a separate report from Worldpay, the financial transactions firm, suggests British brands will make big gains.

As reported by Retail Times, Worldpay found that UK businesses alone recorded a 19% uplift in Singles’ Day sales last year and forecast that this year’s event will be even bigger as the weak pound attracts an influx of “Brexit bargain hunters”.

Worldpay also revealed that last year’s event grew by 39% globally year-on-year, while generating more than double the total online sales of Black Friday.

Last year, online shopping activity peaked at 17.24 GMT, at which point Worlday processed 44,505 payments per minute.

Worldpay’s transaction data also supports findings from the Global eCommerce Leaders Forum (GELF), which revealed the increase in consumer spending power in China is translating into growing sales on Western sites.

“For UK businesses looking to break into the huge Chinese e-commerce market, Singles’ Day should be an important landmark in the calendar year. The current economic climate means international shoppers get more for their money when buying British,” said Maria Prados, Worldpay’s VP of Global Retail.

“Combined with the rising purchasing power of the Chinese consumer, the pound’s performance could mean big bucks for UK brands on 11 November, but only if they are well prepared,” she added.

“To turn browsers into buyers, it is essential to tailor the online shopping experience to local tastes. For Chinese consumers, this means focusing on your mobile proposition.”

Sourced from South China Morning Post, Retail Times; additional content by WARC staff