Highlights of this year’s Singles Day shopping festival in China

A staff member works at the distribution center of an express company in Yinchuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Nov. 12, 2018. (Photo/Xinhua)

The recently concluded Chinese shopping spree known as “Singles Day” or “Double 11″, which takes place on Nov. 11 each year, created record sales of 300 billion yuan (about $43.2 billion), signaled new trends within China’s consumption market.

Besides verifying the fact that consumption is replacing investment and export as the primary driving force of China’s economic growth, the record-breaking sales volume also signaled consumption upgrading across the country.

Statistics show that although products such as clothing, shoes, and bags have always been primary categories of spending, their proportion in the total figure declined from 2013 to 2017, while during the same period more money was spent on digital products, home improvement, beauty and skin care products.

Intelligent technology was popular during this year’s shopping spree, with a cleaning robot, selling for a minimum of 2,000 yuan, seeing a sales growth of 420 percent year-on-year, and products such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and noise-canceling headphones appearing on the shopping lists of younger people, as shown in data released by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com.

With various companies deepening the integration of their online and offline channels, new retail has provided consumers from across the country with a more accessible shopping experience, boosting development and attracting more consumers from small cities and rural areas.

As indicated by data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, this year, new online users were predominantly young people and residents of China’s third and fourth-tier cities. Statistics also indicate that the post-90s generation has outnumbered the post-80s to become the leading commercial force for the first time.

New retail was put into full-scale operation this year for the first time, according to Tmall.com, initiator of the Double 11 shopping festival, and a B-C shopping website run by the Alibaba Group.

All of Alibaba’s channels and outlets took part in this year’s shopping spree. JD.com also helped get 600,000 offline retail stores involved in the event, whereas Suning, one of the largest retailers in China, made sure that all online and offline outlets fully engaged in the festival.

The Double 11 shopping festival has been transformed from a low price promotion into a shopping spree driven by quality since it began in 2009, and has developed into an experience-driven and service-driven shopping festival, said Hong Kai, vice president of e-commerce research at the global marketing research company Nielsen Corporation.