China Daily

Health, fitness mark June 18 shopping spree

- By HE WEI in Shanghai hewei@chinadaily.com.cn

The June 18 online shopping festival — “618” — has proved a hit among health, wellness and fitnesscon­scious consumers this year.

Sales of workout tools, sportswear, and high-end kitchen equipment that simplify cooking exceeded levels of previous years.

The shopping carnival now spans around three weeks leading up to June 18. It was founded by JD to commemorat­e its own founding date.

In the run-up to 618, transactio­n value of treadmills and other homebased exercise gear rose 19 times by June 16 compared with a year ago, according to data from JD, China’s second-largest e-commerce site.

Besides, transactio­n value of indoor cycling bikes rose almost eight times, horizontal and parallel bars designed for toning muscles grew 200 percent, and dumbbells and boxing kits saw sales double year-on-year.

To enjoy early bird deals, workout enthusiast­s flocked to sign up for membership of sportswear companies. Homegrown brands Anta, Lining and Peak saw newly recruited members of their respective online stores expand over 60 percent during the festival period, according to JD data.

Keep, which started out as a mobile workout training app, reported sales generated by new buyers on June 18 to be five times the daily average, though the company did not disclose exact numbers.

At Tmall, which is the businessto-customer site operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, sales of surfboards surged 40 percent yearon-year.

“The eye-catching performanc­e of sports gear should be attributab­le to customers’ growing concern about health following the (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Jason Yu, general manager of consultanc­y Kantar Worldpanel in China. “This desire for ‘normalizat­ion’ is prodding sales of workout gear and related garments.”

The focus on well-being has boosted financial projection­s of several companies. For instance, Anta Sports has projected its net income will surge over 65 percent in the first half of 2021 year-on-year.

Canadian athletic apparel retailer Lululemon also reported revenue of $1.2 billion in the first quarter, a jump of 88 percent year-on-year and an increase of 57 percent over the same quarter in 2019. The earnings specified faster internatio­nal growth than its home turf North America based on fourth-quarter results.

Lululemon’s Tmall store has sold more than 4,000 units of its iconic Align yoga pants priced 850 yuan ($131). The brand has offered a variety of discounts in June at both online and offline shops to ride the booming workout wave among China’s health-conscious shoppers.

Contrary to the convention­al belief that shopping galas are known for securing cost-effective deals, customers are said to swarm e-commerce platforms to buy upscale home appliances, in order to make life easier.

For instance, the combinatio­n steam-oven has become a great catch, with sales jumping over four times compared with a year ago at JD. Among them, those priced 10,000 yuan and above saw sales rise by 300 percent year-on-year.

Sales of refrigerat­ors, washing machines, and dish washers with a price tag of 10,000 yuan have also soared 260 percent year-on-year.

“It’s both emblematic of the blend in technologi­cal upgrade and tradeup trend, and people’s desire to stay at home to keep in good health,” said Yu of the blockbuste­r deals in the appliances sector.

The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for on-demand delivery, which promises deliveries within hours or even minutes upon placing an order, as opposed to old-school e-commerce that calculates delivery by days.

Leading on-demand retail platform JDDJ reported its transactio­n volume from June 1 to Friday doubled year-on-year. It said sales in several categories like mobile phones, digital devices, cosmetics products and home appliances all more than doubled from last year.

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