China’s E-commerce Giants See Record Highs During “618” Shopping Spree

Sales for China’s online shopping giants reached a new high in the mid-year “618” shopping extravaganza, with platforms adopting different approaches to attract consumers and boost sales. revealed that its total transaction volume reached 343.8 billion yuan, an 27.7% increase compared with last year, with some of the top selling products including mobile phones, home appliances and make-up products. The figure refers to all the sales made on the retail marketplace, without considering whether the goods are sold or returned.

Online retail platform also witnessed sales increased by 129%. Smart home appliances were the most popular products, and about 180 thousand customers used the trade-in service to get new models. The company also opened 260 new offline retail stores during “618” to reach a broader market.

Alibaba hasn’t announced any sales-related figures at press time. Meanwhile, Caixin reported that the number of vendors signing up to sell their products during the “618” on Alibaba doubled compared to last year’s amount.

Starting from June 18, 2004 as‘s anniversary sale, “618” has become the country’s largest online shopping festival after Alibaba’s Singles Day. And the unprecedented effects of the pandemic have resulted in people increasingly buying items with the click of a mouse. The world’s largest online retail market saw its annual online retail sales reach a total of 11.76 trillion yuan ($1.82 trillion) in 2020, representing 10.9% year-on-year growth, according statistics in a report on internet development released by the government in February. Online retail sales reached 4.8 trillion yuan from January to May this year, the country’s bureau of statistics announced on Wednesday.

Amid the increasingly competitive online retail business, newcomers like Pinduoduo and short video platform Douyin and Kuaishou are also diving in for a share of cake.

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Pinduoduo launched its third year of a “10 billion subsidies” initiative on June 10 to attract customers. As seen on the platform, the price of the iPhone 12 series was cut to 4899 yuan with the subsidy – 1800 yuan cheaper than the original price. The company’s Q1 report for 2021 shows that Pinduoduo expended 12.997 billion yuan for sales and marketing.

TikTok’s domestic version Douyin enters the battlefield this year with its first e-commerce business attempt, the “Good Things Festival”. The platform launches thousands of livestream events to promote Chinese fashion brands, aiming to capitalize on new consumers needs and buying patterns. Its rival Kuaishou also started its second mid-year shopping festival, providing subsides to viewers during the livestream and partnering with to streamline its supply chain.

Livestream shopping could be the next big hit in e-commerce, the internet development report said. The number of e-commerce live streaming users is 388 million, of which those who have purchased goods during the livestream account for 66.2%.

Meanwhile, the ongoing crackdown on internet giants continues during the shopping frenzy. Regulators on Tuesday summoned officials from leading e-commerce platforms including Alibaba and, warning that spamming consumers with promotional messages is a violation to consumer rights and might break consumer protection law.