What happened

Shares of Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) rose 60.5% in the first half of 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

Retailers around the world have suffered mightily in 2017 as e-commerce alternatives kept up their pressure on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Hence, Alibaba shares rose steadily from January to May, right alongside fellow e-tailing giant Amazon.com. Then Alibaba held a successful and convincing analyst day in early June, sending share prices skyward while Amazon's stubs took a small haircut due to this international competitor's apparent rise.

Alibaba logo.

Image source: Alibaba.

Now what

Alibaba's sales increased by 60% year over year in the recently reported fourth quarter, and that revenue growth is accelerating. You'll see a similar growth trend in Alibaba's free cash flows. The move from physical retail stores to a new e-commerce model is very real, and it's easy to read in Alibaba's financial results.

Looking ahead, Alibaba is exploring global growth while its home-market Chinese consumer base grows more affluent and able to afford the occasional retail splurge. This company is riding powerful economic trends, not short-lived fads. Look for Alibaba to continue its market-beating growth for years to come.

BABA Chart

BABA data by YCharts.