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New historic online sales record set for 618
Insights | Jun 2020

Due to the influence of Covid-19 worldwide including China, brands have focused on shifting marketing and sales activities from offline to online. In China, the 618-shopping festival was the first large scale ecommerce promotion which received high scale of attention from all levels.

Search index of the 618-shopping festival already started increasing heavily in mid-May on Baidu and reached the highest record of the last five years. On June 17th, 2020, the search index increased 95% compared to last year.

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* Data from Baidu Search

The most searched key words during the shopping festival period were related to promotion discounts. Consumers searched for promotions for different platforms, such as “any promotion for 618” or “is it cheap on 618”.

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Surely there have been higher attention of 618 shopping festival this year compared with previous years, especially from the marketplaces. The two largest marketplaces within e-commerce in China is JD.com and Tmall.com and both parties have put large emphasis on simulating consumers attractiveness and desire to buy under the 618-shopping festival period. At NBH, we have collected some key sales data from the two key marketplace platforms to give you an overview of their performance.

JD.com

From June 1st till June 18th 2 pm, the turnover of JD.com reached CNY 239.2 billion (accordingly to JD.com)

During the 618-promotion period, JD key business category home appliances gained large growth. From the campaign start period till 18th of June 2020, a total ten third-party stores reached over CNY 100 million in sales and 1000 third-party stores reached over CNY 1 million in sales.

TMall.com

In the morning 19th of June 2020, Tmall release their sales figures with a total turnover of CNY 698.2 billion and Tmall reported that the turnover the first hour on the 18th of June 2020 gained over 100% growth compared with last year.

It was already highly expected that the sales 618-promotion would over exceed previous years as Tmall already before the campaign announced that this year’s 618-promotion, would provide the best promotion offers than any consumers have seen before.

During the 618-promotion period, Tmall therefore had over 150 third-party stores which reached over CNY 100 million in sales and over 120,000 third-party stores gained sales growth compared to last year.

According to Tmall, especially one product category stood out, 3C products. Apple participated in the 618-promotion for the first time and reach over CNY 500 million sales within just five hours. During the first hour of promotion on the 16th of June 2020, already 25 third-party stores within the 3C category gained ten times of sales growth compared to last year.

Different from JD.com, Tmall has reached noticeable growth for most categories and brands. In apparel category, 28 third-party stores reach equal sales to last year already within one hour. The momentum was even stronger for new brands where 66 third-party stores gained over 600% growth already 1st of June, 2020.

From the sales results from 618-shopping festival many might think that Tmall is the place to be for the Chinese ecommerce market. But the reality is that every platform including Sunning and Pingduoduo, all surpassed their own results this year. Sunning and Pingduoduo are two perfect examples of two marketplaces which are specialized in a certain categories and have shown to be an important player within their category, therefore the actual result should not just be judge purely on sales figures but also based on product category the brand belong to and thereby evaluation of suitable marketplaces for the brand.

One thing is for sure the sales success of 618-shopping festival in China does not come alone from marketplaces but instead common effort from brands, store owners and consumers. Most importantly if we look behind the impressive figures, the key is to seize the potential of online sales in China and understand the importance of innovation of technologies on the market and thereby be ready to swift your business model to adapt to the Chinese consumers.

WHAT IS 618-SHOPPING FESTIVAL?

It is an online promotion period which JD.com launched first time 15 years ago. It is an addition to double 11 which is another large online shopping festival in China which was started by Alibaba group. 618 refers to the date 18th of June and signals the largest mid-year sales. 618-shopping festival usually start in late May with presales and the promotion starts in early June until late June.

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