WPBeijing was a marketing studio founded by Peter Bic and Everlyne Yu in Beijing, October 2003. In 2017 it became known as Bicyu NZ Co Ltd. Aim2D is an umbrella media arm of Bicyu. This article is part of a Weekend Series where we dare to share some of our experiences and insights. So, make yourself a pot of Oolong tea, grab a chocolate bar and settle down for a longer read of….
The shouting is o’er, now’s the time for counting
Friday June 18th and China 6/18 shopping extravaganza has officially ended. Many of us here in China will be breathing a sigh of relieve. We will be free of the “high rotate” ads playing in the elevator foyers and cars. For almost a month.
Likewise those in buses, subways, most shops or stores. As many China commentators have pointed out this was not just a JD promotion. Every shop, store and corner hole in the wall outlet was involved. If there was a way to take cash form the public, 6/18 was there.
China 6/18 is by a long way, the smaller sister of Double Eleven and under normal times, would not really be justified in creating so much fanfare. However, these are “new normal” times. The first barometer of Chinese consumers mood since Covid 19 stalked the land.
Would Chinese open their wallets and throw money around with gay abandon? Or were those who, earlier in the year, were cautioning against expecting a spending boom based on the “sudden“ increase second hand sales be proven correct? [It wasn’t sudden]
Could we expect revenge spending on a scale never before seen? Or, as the nay sayers would have it, had weeks of isolation driven Chinese into introspective analysis and moderation? [again, wrong- China did not lock down]
The results would be watched, analysed and analysed again by brands, CMO’s agencies and media over the globe. Searching for the merest hint, or glitter of hope in what might lay ahead in China.
So, with the dust still settling and doubtless, many transactions still to be processed, we bring you a quick wrap of the closing day figures.
JD.com said it racked up 239.2 billion yuan ($34 billion) of transactions as of mid-afternoon, up 33% from the same time a year earlier and already surpassing the 2019 total.
Speaking about discretionary items like home appliances, JD.com Retail Chief Executive Officer Xu Lei said; “we’ve seen a recovery in consumption.”
Based on the first 17 days of June, China’s e-commerce giants are on track for record sums as measured by gross merchandise value, or total value of goods sold.
During the first 10 hours of its 6.18 campaign, Alibaba’s Tmall business-to-consumer marketplace logged sales 50% higher than during the same period last year after participating brands doubled.
JD.com said sales of imports like HP laptops and Dyson hairdryers soared, and it’s selling more fresh produce in smaller cities.
On the face of things we can say that the cautious nay sayers might have been a little off track this time. It does seem as if Chinese consumers have confidence in their future and are not afraid to spend. At least in the short term.
Of course, all this needs to be balanced against the fact that much of this spend was chalked up in the 3+ weeks “pre sale”or lead up to the big day. That was long before Beijing suffered a crushing blow to its Covid free status. Our brief interactions seem to indicate Beijing people’s moods is a little sour right now- some of the confidence has been sapped.
The other thing to bear in mind is the possible “manipulation” of some figures. Saying; “sales are 50% over last years” sounds wonderful. But it fails to take into account the losses for the 6 months previous. What would give us a better gauge is a bigger picture of total sales from Feb to June 18 over previews years. THEN we have a decent yardstick to measure things by.
But this is just the first rush- no doubt deeper analysis, trends and numbers will be released in the coming days. At this point, all in all though, we tend to go with the positive camp. These results do indicate that China’s economy at least domestic is heading back up- although we may not see much drastic until the last quarter. Double Eleven will, this year, be a better sign post.
To read a more in depth report, please visit Caixin.com
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