Online shopping

Just-concluded online shopping festival signals China’s consumer recovery

Consumers select products at the Global Premium Duty Free (GDF) Plaza in Haikou, south China’s Hainan Province, May 3, 2022. (People’s Daily Online/Su Bikun)

This year’s “618” online shopping festival, the biggest of its kind in China in the first half of the year, which falls every June 18, has come to a successful end.

On June 19, major Chinese e-commerce platforms unveiled their sales performance during the shopping festival. JD.com, the initiator of the trading event, recorded total trading volume of 379.3 billion yuan ($56.7 billion), up 10.3 percent year on year. Mobile-only marketplace Pinduoduo said its home appliance sales more than doubled from a year earlier, setting a new record.

Emerging live streaming platforms also performed strongly. Between June 1 and June 18, the Douyin short video platform recorded a total of 4,045 hours of live broadcasts. The number of merchants joining the “618” shopping festival on the platform jumped 159% from a year ago.

The shopping festival was not only a chance for China to increase consumption, but also a litmus test for the country’s consumption recovery as COVID-19 severely affected its domestic demand.

During the “618” shopping festival, some local governments launched voucher programs to stimulate consumption.

A forklift driver sorts goods at a logistics center of Suning.com in Jiangning District, Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, June 16, 2022. (People’s Daily Online/Fang Dongxu)

According to statistics, JD.com, together with 15 local governments, distributed vouchers totaling more than 700 million yuan. In particular, the government of Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong Province issued 400 million vouchers on the e-commerce platform, which could be used to buy electronics and clothes.

The consumption boom reflects a change in the way Chinese consumers spend their money these days, as well as an improvement in the quality of their consumption. Besides daily necessities, high-end home appliances, health products, jewelry and other high-end consumer goods were also sought after in online marketplaces during this year’s “618” festival.

According to statistics released by Suning.com, one of the largest retailers in China, sales of high-end home appliances priced above 10,000 yuan jumped 37% year-on-year, and those of French-door refrigerators and integrated washer-dryers have also experienced rapid growth. .

Transaction volume of smart pet supplies tripled from a year ago on JD.com, and consumption of self-indulgence, such as cosmetics, saw a rapid increase on Pinduoduo. Apart from this, there has also been a surge in the sales of healthcare products, as well as medical appliances and instruments.

The prosperity of online consumption is attributed to China’s efficient logistics system.

The courier industry maintained steady growth in June. The State Post Bureau (SPB) said during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, or between June 3 and June 5, about 940 million packages were collected across the country, up 17 percent year on year. , and the number of parcels sent also increased by 13.1% to 970 million.

To strengthen the rural logistics system and promote the improvement of consumption in lower-level markets and the countryside, the Ministry of Commerce and the SPB plan to introduce courier services in each county, township and village with mature conditions by 2025.

In addition, the “618” shopping festival is benefiting more and more international consumers and businesses.

South Korea’s largest online retailer, Coupang, announced on June 17 that it will hold a 4-day promotional event on its website starting June 18 to mark the Chinese online shopping festival. The promotional event would allow South Korean consumers to purchase Chinese products at substantial discounts, up to 90 percent off.

Russian merchants are also looking to expand their presence in the Chinese market through the “618” shopping festival. Alexey Yefimov, a Russian trade representative in China, told the People’s Daily that a freight train carrying 62 containers of Russian food, drink and household chemicals left Moscow in late May for Shaanxi province in the northwest China. According to him, the train would become regular in the future, making four monthly trips.

Robots sort goods at a logistics center of a garment company in Deqing County, Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, June 16, 2022. (People’s Daily Online/Cai Jun)

The annual “618” shopping festival, which has been held for a decade, is a reflection of Chinese consumption. At present, the Chinese consumer market is showing signs of recovery. According to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, total retail sales of consumer goods stood at 3.35 trillion yuan in May, up 0.05 percent from the previous month. From January to May, domestic online retail sales reached 4.96 trillion yuan, up 2.9 percent year on year.

Insiders say the pandemic hasn’t changed Chinese people’s online shopping habits. As the pandemic is increasingly controlled in China, there is pent-up consumer demand, which was fully demonstrated during the “618” shopping festival.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)