Total sales by China’s e-commerce giant JD.com grew 10.3 percent in the 18 days leading up to Sunday during the first major shopping festival following a recent COVID-19 breakout, the firm claimed, a steep decrease from the 27.7 per cent growth seen in the 2021 event.
This year’s figure was the slowest for the shop, demonstrating how lockdowns to combat the Omicron type of coronavirus and slowing economic conditions have hampered consumer hunger in the world’s second largest economy.
Over the “618” period, Chinese customers spent 379.3 billion yuan ($56.48 billion) on JD’s platform, according to the company’s official WeChat account.
“We are further improving delivery services in urban and rural areas,” it added in statement, referring to efforts during the event that built on its supply chain infrastructure and digital intelligence technology.
The 618 event, which began in 2004 to commemorate JD.com’s founding anniversary, is China’s second largest shopping festival after Singles Day in November.
JD.com’s competitors, Alibaba Group and Pinduoduo, do not post 618 data.
However, consultancy Syntun predicted that online e-commerce platforms including as Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace, JD.com, and Pinduoduo generated 582.6 billion yuan ($86.75 billion) in sales this year, practically flat compared to 578.5 billion yuan last year.
Despite efforts by e-commerce giants this year to streamline promotion rules and offer larger discounts, “market reaction was lukewarm,” Syntun reported on Sunday.
Shopping festivals have long been popular in China, with many customers deferring purchases in order to take advantage of the enormous discounts offered to encourage shoppers.
However, there were already hints of waning consumer interest at such events last year, when rival Alibaba witnessed sales growth of only 8.5 per cent during its Singles Day frenzy, which was also its slowest ever.
Over the previous three months, China’s fight to contain COVID-19 has resulted in varied degrees of lockdown in dozens of cities, affecting expenditures, livelihoods, and supply chains.
To boost demand for the 618 event this year, key e-commerce platforms pushed manufacturers to give larger discounts, although some companies and agents told Reuters they expected to pull back their participation.
Aside from e-commerce companies, other online platforms and offline retailers participated in this year’s event, including short video sites Douyin and Kuaishou.
(Adapted from MoneyControl.com)