Even as China’s slowing economy and tightened Covid-19 restrictions continued to dampen consumer sentiment, e-commerce platforms and consumers came out in full force for this year’s June 18th Shopping Festival, the country’s largest mid-year online shopping event.
The B2C e-commerce affair saw a total turnover of 695.9 billion yuan (US$103.7 billion), up 13.5% from last year, according to market data. Though the festival started in late May to attract more consumers, most of the e-commerce platforms saw the biggest sales on June 18. There were more than 730 million active users on e-commerce mobile apps last Saturday, a 15% increase compared to last year, data from QuestMobile show.
Still, consumer sentiment has remained relatively weak since the fourth quarter of 2021. Retail sales of consumer goods fell 1.5% year-on-year to 17.17 trillion yuan in the first five months of 2022. However, a glimpse of recovery was seen in May, with sales reaching 3.35 trillion yuan, a 13% increase from 2.95 trillion yuan in April. This came as major cities in China emerged from Covid-related lockdowns.
Although started by JD.com, the June 18th shopping festival, which also marks the firm’s anniversary, has seen other online B2C platforms launching their own sales promotion campaigns during the period.
Industry giant Alibaba, however, is probably not so happy about the results of this year’s festival. Although about 300 brands on its online shopping website Tmall recorded a turnover of more than 100 million yuan and 100 items on Tmall posted sales of more than 100 million yuan, Alibaba’s total turnover (from Taobao and Tmall) during the festival dropped 10% y-o-y.
However, its competitor JD.com saw its sales during the event increase 10% y-o-y to 379 billion yuan, accounting for a 54% share of the total turnover.