Sales blitz spurs gala Singles Day open

2023-11-02 10:33:06China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A livestreaming hostess promotes ceramic products during a cross-border e-commerce fair in Changsha, Hunan province, over the weekend. (LIN DAOHUI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

Sales boomed on the opening day of the extended Singles Day shopping extravaganza that kicked off at 8 pm on Tuesday, with high-quality products and livestreaming sessions proving popular among Chinese consumers.

Industry experts said the purchasing frenzy during the biggest shopping event of the year showed the enormous vitality of the consumer market in China and strong resilience of the country's economy.

Data from Tmall, Alibaba's business-to-customer platform, showed that in the first hour of the promotional campaign, the turnover of 71,900 brands exceeded that of Oct 31 last year, while 155 brands, including Apple, Haier, Midea and Huawei, saw sales surpass 100 million yuan ($13.7 million) during a brief period.

The transaction volume of premium consumer electronic devices, such as interchangeable-lens digital cameras and 3D printing equipment, surged about 100 percent and 400 percent year-on-year, respectively, in the first hour, Tmall said.

Consumers increasingly preferred to snap up bargains via livestreaming on e-commerce platforms, with sales from 29 livestreaming rooms of Taobao Live, Alibaba's livestreaming arm, surpassing 100 million yuan within a short period of time.

Sales of home appliances via e-commerce giant JD's online marketplaces exceeded 1 billion yuan in 30 seconds after the clock struck 8 pm on Tuesday, while the transaction volume of smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, and those from Xiaomi and Honor, skyrocketed 100 percent year-on-year in the first 10 minutes of the gala event, according to JD.

The turnover of high-end gaming laptops jumped 270 percent year-on-year in the first 10 minutes, JD said. In addition, top-tier luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior, saw their sales increase more than three times compared with the same period last year.

As consumer sentiment picks up, nearly half of the respondents in a survey said they are likely to spend more this year compared to last year, and 62 percent said they will spend at least 3,000 yuan this year, up 11 percentage points from 2022, according to a report released by global consulting firm AlixPartners on Tuesday.

The survey, with a sample size of over 2,000 consumers across different age groups and regions in China, found that rational consumption drove a search for quality over flashy promotion. Chinese brands also continue to gain momentum as 66 percent of customers said they plan to increase spending on homegrown brands, the report said.

"2023 marks the first Singles Day post-pandemic where consumption returns to normal levels. We are seeing stronger sentiment and spending, evidenced by the 18 percent increase in total spending compared to 2022, more than three times last year's growth," said Britton Russell, who leads the consumer and retail practice at AlixPartners Greater China.

"While value-based shopping is nothing new, consumers are more prudent and knowledgeable about potential purchases than ever before as they seek maximum value with every purchase," he said.

Shoppers are carefully researching options across channels and platforms to find true product differentiators, such as product quality and sustainability, beyond reduced price tags, he added.

Echoing the rational consumption trend, consumers are increasingly looking for cost-effective local alternatives as Chinese brands' product quality and safety improve, the report said.

Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at domestic consultancy Internet Economy Institute, said consumption plays a crucial part in bolstering economic growth, and the Singles Day shopping festival is expected to be key in stimulating purchasing appetite and promoting consumption recovery.

Chinese consumers have become more value-conscious during this year's shopping carnival, hoping to buy cost-effective commodities, rather than just obtaining low-priced goods at the cost of quality, she said.

Online retailers should launch new products and upgrade supply chain systems to attract a new breed of young shoppers, Mo added.

China's consumer market recovered in the first three quarters of this year, with retail sales increasing 6.8 percent year-on-year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. In September, the corresponding figure was 5.5 percent, up from 4.6 percent in August.

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