Alibaba invests $15 million in US-based luxury e-commerce site

1stdibs ss

New York-based 1stdibs, an online American retailer for fancy interior design, decoration and fashion, just raked in $15 million in series C funding from Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, according to Recode.In business for 13 years, 1stdibs (terrible name for such a high-brow retailer, by the way) isn’t exactly a startup anymore. It’s raised $117 million from previous investors, most of it since 2011.

The strategic investment will help Alibaba better serve China’s fast-growing consumer market for high-dollar luxury goods. 1stdibs CEO David Rosenblatt notes one-third of his company’s business is outside the US.

Alibaba owns and operates C2C marketplace Taobao, the most popular e-commerce site in China, as well as Tmall, a B2C site for brand-name retailers.

Studies show that by 2015, China will account for over 20 percent of the world’s demand for luxury goods. While the market is still growing, however, Bain & Company reports growth is tapering off. Furthermore, Chinese shoppers do two-thirds of their luxury shopping abroad, “triggering slowdowns in store traffic and store openings domestically.” If this trend continues, Alibaba might have just put its money into a shrinking market gap.

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