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E-commerce platforms reap 618 sales festival bonanza

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Major Chinese e-commerce platforms saw positive results during the 618 mid-year sales festival, with shoppers embracing imported offerings and niche segments while homegrown brands also shone.

JD.com said it has set new records for both transaction volume and the number of orders. Under the theme of “Affordability and Quality,” it has attracted over 500 million buyers during the extended shopping festival since late May.

As of Wednesday midnight, over 36,000 brands had doubled their sales and 365 leading players had reaped over 100 million yuan (US$13.78 million) in revenue on Tmall, according to Alibaba.

Shanghai financial consultant Kiki Cheng said she took the chance to buy a new sports camera. “I found the discount very appealing and instead of buying daily groceries, it was a good chance to buy big-ticket items,” she explained.

The 618 mid-year shopping gala is the second largest promotional event after the Singles Day in November, with brands rushing to woo shoppers with new offerings.

JD said the total number of orders from Shanghai shoppers during the weeks-long promotional campaign ranked sixth among domestic cities and municipalities.

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Local players managed to attract buyers with their latest items offering high value for money and niche functions.

Domestic apparel players such as Banana-in and LiNing were among the top-selling sunscreen jacket brands on Douyin’s retail site.

Imported brands were also popular. Nintendo gaming consoles and tech company Dyson showed steady growth while premium beauty brand La Mer recorded a 270 percent jump in sales on Tmall Global.

On Pinduoduo, sales of Skyworth’s TV sets more than tripled in the first week of the promotional sales at the end of May, the brand having set up shop on the budget e-commerce platform in March.

Alibaba and JD didn’t disclose their gross merchandise value, or the total online transaction size during the promotion. Both, however, adopted a more pragmatic and simpler approach by canceling the pre-sale period, and allowing direct purchase from late May.

Outdoor gears, garments and sports apparels were popular with Shanghai shoppers, with smart devices, tech gadgets and nutritional supplements among the top-selling items, according to JD.

Order volume on JD’s on-demand delivery platform for electronic accessories increased by 177 percent, and that for sports and outdoor products jumped 166 percent year on year.

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