Dou­ble 11 shop­ping spree breaks record

US buy­ers, sell­ers un­af­fected by trade war

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Xie Jun

China’s e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba set yet an­other record for the Dou­ble 11 shop­ping fes­ti­val, hit­ting 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.44 bil­lion) in sales just 2 min­utes and 5 sec­onds af­ter the an­nual November 11th on­line shop­ping spree be­gan at mid­night Satur­day.

In 2017, it took shop­pers on Alibaba’s Tmall 3 min­utes 1 sec- ond to rack up 10 bil­lion yuan in sales, break­ing the pre­vi­ous year’s record of 6 min­utes and 58 sec­onds.

By noon Sun­day, 167 brands re­ported sales 100 mil­lion yuan dur­ing the shop­ping spree. By 15:49 pm, to­tal sales broke the record of last year’s en­tire-day sales for the Dou­ble 11 shop­ping car­ni­val.

As of the press time, at 10:30 pm on Sun­day, the sales num- ber reached 200 bil­lion yuan.

Also re­veal­ing in the shop­ping spree’s sta­tis­tics is that US shop­pers splurged de­spite the China-US tit-for-tat trade fric­tion.

Spend­ing power

This year’s record sales also re­flect Chi­nese peo­ple’s strong spend­ing power po­ten­tial, even though the coun­try is un­der

pressure from a soft­en­ing of its do­mes­tic econ­omy and strains from un­re­solved trade con­flicts, ex­perts said.

Cong Yi, a pro­fes­sor at the Tian­jin Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Economics, said that China still has a vast space of as yet un­met do­mes­tic con­sump­tion need.

“China has al­ready achieved a mid­dle in­come level on aver­age, and this in­come level has helped pro­pel and sta­bi­lize China’s do­mes­tic con­sump­tion in re­cent years,” he said.

Strong con­sump­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties in China have al­ready been proved by Chi­nese buy­ers’ per­for­mance dur­ing the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo, which closed Satur­day, the day be­fore the Dou­ble 11. Pur­chasers from China pledged to spend $57.8 bil­lion on im­ports dur­ing the event, data from the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported on Satur­day.

Yan Qiang, a pro­fes­sor of the Bei­jing Univer­sity of Posts and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, said that in­creased con­sump­tion fi­nanc­ing, pro­vided in part by loan apps, has also stim­u­lated the Dou­ble 11 on­line spend­ing car­ni­val. “I would say it’’s half good, as it boosts the econ­omy, and half bad, as it cre­ates a kind of con­sumer lever­age in so­ci­ety with risks.”

US brands’ par­tic­i­pa­tion

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has tried to pull its mar­kets away from China by creat­ing the China-US trade war, but data from the Dou­ble 11 fes­ti­val re­veals US shop­pers are still in the mood to buy China-made prod­ucts.

Alibaba said that in just 12 min­utes af­ter the fes­ti­val started, con­sumers from 200 coun­tries and re­gions have placed their or­ders on tmall.com, and US buy­ers make large con­tri­bu­tion to the Dou­ble 11 sales.

One US buyer spent 120,000 yuan on a vase in the Na­tional Mu­seum of China’s Tmall on­line store, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Alibaba.

US sell­ers are also en­joy­ing a good har­vest from their par­tic­i­pa­tion in this year’s Dou­ble 11 shop­ping fes­ti­val. Sales vol­ume of iPhones’ new se­ries in­clud­ing iPhone XS Max soared to 100 mil­lion yuan half an hour af­ter the fes­ti­val be­gan.

US shoe re­tailer Sta­di­umGoods also man­aged to match with half of their last year’s to­tal Dou­ble 11 sales in just the first 30 min­utes of this year’s sale.

Ac­cord­ing to Cong, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for com­pa­nies from de­vel­oped coun­tries like the US to give up the Chi­nese mar­ket. “Chi­nese con­sumers’ de­mand for high-end prod­ucts di­rectly fits US-made prod­ucts. Where else can those com­pa­nies find such a large and in­clu­sive mar­ket? If they sell prod­ucts to less de­vel­oped coun­tries, few peo­ple can af­ford them. If they sell them to de­vel­oped coun­tries like Ja­pan, lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion would be very fierce.”

Buy more, buy bet­ter

Ex­perts said Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies should upgrade the quality of their prod­ucts to catch up with do­mes­tic con­sumers’ evolv­ing con­sump­tion needs. “In re­cent years, Chi­nese con­sumers are search­ing for high-end prod­ucts. That’s also why over­seas brands have gained suc­cess in China. But do­mes­tic com­pa­nies must shift their man­u­fac­tur­ing model to make prod­ucts with high added value if they want to sur­vive in the do­mes­tic mar­ket in the fu­ture,” Cong said.

Data pro­vided by Alibaba also showed that Chi­nese con­sumers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a “con­sump­tion up­grad­ing” with their in­cli­na­tion to buy smart prod­ucts. For ex­am­ple, sales of smart ro­bots such as cook­ing ro­bots or sweep­ing ro­bots sur­passed last year’s November 11 sales within the first eight hours of this year’s Dou­ble 11.

A Bei­jing res­i­dent sur­named Wang said that he started Dou­ble 11 shop­ping in 2009, when the con­cept was first un­veiled by tmall. com. He and his fam­ily spent more than 100,000 yuan on­line on Sun­day, a few thou­sands more than last year. Like many Chi­nese con­sumers, Wang and his fam­ily mem­bers not only buy more things but he’s also buys bet­ter quality prod­ucts.

“I use on­line shop­ping to help dec­o­rate of my new home. My new home now has about a dozen prod­ucts from tmall.com, in­clud­ing smart tele­vi­sion, in­tel­li­gent ro­botic cleaner and au­to­mated cur­tains, some­thing I would never have done in the past,” he told the Global Times on Sun­day.

Alibaba also pre­sented a se­ries of high-tech prod­ucts in what it called “fu­ture life city” at the me­dia cen­ter of the Dou­ble 11 shop­ping fes­ti­val in Shang­hai. Th­ese in­cluded ro­bots that can col­lect and de­liver plates of food and glasses of wine, a ma­chine that helps buy­ers see how they look in clothes be­fore they buy them, and a store check-out ma­chine that uses facial recog­ni­tion.

Em­ploy­ees of YTO Ex­press, a Chi­nese courier com­pany, sort a pile of pack­ages on Sun­day in Lianyun­gang, East China’s Jiangsu Province. The man­ager of the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter said that over the next 10 days they will be extremely busy de­liv­er­ing more than 20,000 pack­ages a day. The Dou­ble 11 shop­ping fes­tive is also a huge busi­ness boost for China’s lo­gis­tics in­dus­try.

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