Diminished Enthusiasm Marks China's Mid-Year E-Commerce Festival

Diminished Enthusiasm Marks China's Mid-Year E-Commerce Festival

China's mid-year e-commerce sales festival, known as the 618 Festival, has not sparked significant enthusiasm among shoppers, despite efforts by major platforms to extend the offers over a longer period. The festival, which is named after JD.com's June 18 founding date and is considered China's second-largest annual sales event after Singles Day, serves as an important measure of household consumption trends. However, industry experts have noted a lukewarm response this year.

Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, indicated that the festival is still seeing a general merchandise value (GMV) increase from baseline levels, with overall GMV expected to be slightly up from 2023. The extension of the sales period, along with economic challenges such as unemployment and a property crisis, is believed to have contributed to the decreased enthusiasm. Additionally, major platforms like JD.com, Alibaba's Tmall, and Taobao canceled their usual pre-sale period, which might have impacted consumer interest.

An analysis by Re-Hub showed that nearly half of the brands either maintained or reduced their average discounts from the previous year, while 20% increased their discounts. Data from consultancy Syntun indicated that the combined GMV on major e-commerce platforms during the festival reached 614.3 billion yuan ($85.79 billion), marking a 5.4% increase from 2022. Despite the modest growth, the overall sentiment among consumers appeared less enthusiastic compared to previous years.

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