618 shopping festival shows rebound of consumption

Major Chinese e-commerce platforms have reported record sales during this year's just-ended June 18 (618) shopping festival, shrugging off concerns that consumer demand is faltering amid the continuous impact of the Covid epidemic and a decline in retail trade for three months. Although the growth shows some slowdown according to data from JD.com, and lingering epidemic control measures have caused some problems with deliveries, the promotion, which ran for the past 18 days and concluded on June 19, has become further proof of consumption recovery and growing consumers' appetite in the world's second largest economy. Chinese observers are also optimistic about the strong recovery in Chinese consumption triggered by this promotion, and predicted that the Chinese economy will see an upward trend from June with the recent Omicron flare-ups largely brought under control, while GDP growth in the third quarter could be around 6.8%.

Total sales by JD.com hit a record CNY379.3 billion in the past 18 days, according to the company. Domestic smartphone brand Honor sold 100,000 handsets in one minute. The β€œ618” shopping festival was proposed by China's e-commerce firm JD.com to celebrate the company's founding anniversary, but has now become a nationwide shopping spree with nearly all shops and merchants on- and offline taking the opportunity to boost sales. Other major e-commerce platforms also reported improved sales performances. Suning.com, which has both online and offline stores, told the Global Times that offline stores led the spending recovery during this year's shopping festival, with sales surging 182% year-on-year. Orders worth more than CNY70,000 saw a 103% year-on-year increase, the company said. Sales data released by Pinduoduo over the weekend showed that the sales of home appliances on the platform had doubled from a year earlier.

The 618 sales festival indicated the national economy has bottomed out with a strong growth momentum, Tian Yun, former Vice Director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times. If the consumption and export indexes for June, July and August maintain a clear momentum of recovery, Tian believed that China's economy will see an upward trend from the second quarter this year, and predicted that the year-on-year GDP growth rate for the third quarter would reach 6.8%.

Many overseas brands are also enjoying record sales during this year's 618 event. More than 29,000 overseas brands from 87 countries and regions joined the shopping spree on Alibaba's Tmall, including more than 3,000 new overseas brands. In addition to traditional e-commerce platforms, new innovative players such as live-streaming platform Douyin have also entered the new business arena. From June 1 to 18, the number of merchants participating in the sales festival increased 159% year-on-year, with total live-streaming of more than 40 million hours, the Global Times reports.