618 shopping gala stimulates consumption

People walk past a promotional slogan of "618" shopping festival at a shopping mall in Hangzhou, east

China's Zhejiang Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

The enthusiasm of Chinese consumers has been evident during this year's June 18 shopping carnival, as major e-commerce platforms ramped up efforts to provide steep discounts and shopping subsidies as well as simplify promotional methods to attract price-conscious shoppers and bolster sales.

Industry experts said the midyear promotional campaign has played a vital role in stimulating people's purchasing appetites, promoting the recovery of consumption and shoring up the economy, with electronic devices containing innovative technologies and domestic brands proving popular among consumers.

As Chinese shoppers have become more rational about potential purchases, online retailers have adopted a more pragmatic and simpler approach by canceling presale campaigns this year, with a key focus on cost-effective products and the use of livestreaming to further unleash the immense potential of consumption, they added.

Data from e-commerce giant JD, which initiated the midyear promotional event, showed that more than 10,000 brands saw their sales surge over fivefold in the first four hours of the June 18 shopping carnival, which kicked off at 8 pm on May 31.

Sales of AI-powered computers, smartphones and learning devices via JD's online marketplaces soared 260 percent year-on-year in the first hour of the promotional gala, while the transaction volume of foldable screen phones, smartwatches and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, skyrocketed over 100 percent year-on-year in short bursts of time, JD said.

The turnover of new products from more than 700 home appliance brands increased over 100 percent year-on-year in the first four hours, JD said. More than 2,500 clothing brands and 300 beauty brands witnessed their sales grow over 100 percent compared with the same period last year.

In addition, the number of viewers of JD's promotional livestreaming sessions skyrocketed 460 percent year-on-year with orders from sessions hosted by JD's professional procurement and sales teams up 300 percent compared with last year's Singles' Day shopping festival.

The company has launched a subsidy campaign worth 10 billion yuan ($1.38 billion) during the June 18 shopping spree, offering a variety of low-priced products.

Data from Tmall, Alibaba's business-to-customer platform, showed that sales of 59 brands surpassed 100 million yuan within the first four hours of its midyear promotional event, which started at 8 pm on May 20.

Turnover of Apple's products on Tmall exceeded 1.5 billion yuan within the first hour, while sales of domestic smartphone brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Vivo surpassed 100 million yuan during the period, Tmall said.

Moreover, the transaction volume of 11 cosmetics and skin care brands as well as 23 household appliance brands — including Haier, Hisense and Xiaomi — crossed the 100 million yuan threshold in the first four hours. Sales of luxury brands, such as Valentino and Miu Miu, exceeded that of the entire day last year within the first hour of the gala, it added.

Outdoor sporting goods, consumer electronic products, nutrition and healthcare items and household appliances witnessed robust growth during the shopping extravaganza that now spans about one month.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, a market research provider, said, "Price is a very basic and core competitiveness for e-commerce platforms as consumers could purchase premium products with high cost-effectiveness during the promotional event, which will satisfy their demand for consumption upgrade."

Yu said some brands are paying more attention to improving consumer experience, as well as providing various discounts and membership services, striking a balance between chasing commercial interests and optimizing user experience.

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