Dec 12 sales push less effective

By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-13 0:28:01

Workers pack products to be delivered for online orders in Zouping, East China's Shandong Province, on Thursday. Photo: CFP

Workers pack products to be delivered for online orders in Zouping, East China's Shandong Province, on Thursday. Photo: CFP

Major e-commerce retailers launched a variety of promotion campaigns on Thursday (December 12), but they failed to create the same frenzy of spending as on Singles' Day on November 11.

About 2.11 million vendors on, nearly one-third of all Taobao retailers, participated in the "shopping festival" by offering various coupons and discounts, but the e-commerce platform said it had no plans to release details of the total sales revenue generated on Thursday.

Promotion of "December 12" or "Double 12", an online shopping festival, was initiated by in 2011, with other major online retailers soon joining in, including, and

The aim was to generate a shopping bonanza similar to the Singles' Day, which saw record sales this year, with Alibaba Group's two e-commerce platforms, and, recording total sales revenue of 35 billion yuan ($5.76 billion).

But while Singles' Day offered discounts from brands and registered retailers, most of the participants in "Double 12" promotions were smaller individual vendors. A total of 120 million users spent 4.38 billion yuan on on December 12, 2011, according to data from Alibaba. No sales data is available for December 12 last year.

"Discounts offered by the online retailers were not so attractive to me compared with Singles' Day," Wang Yu, a 30-year-old consumer in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Wang spent nearly 10,000 yuan on Singles' Day, buying home appliances, clothes and skincare products on, but she did not buy anything on Thursday.

"Data on the number of participants, although impressive, is less significant than sales revenue," Cao Lei, director of China e-Business Research Center, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Sales revenues on Thursday are likely to be much smaller than on Singles' Day, Cao noted.

Other factors behind the less impressive sales on Thursday include a lack of innovation by online retailers and a surge in the amount of counterfeit goods being sold on, experts said.

"Branded retailers did not put as much effort into Thursday's sales promotions as they did on Singles' Day, as many of them have run out of inventory or have turned to offline sales channels ahead of the Christmas and New Year shopping seasons," Zhuang Shuai, an expert at China Electronic Commerce Association, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Also, "the reputation of retailers on is less credible than for branded retailers on, making consumers more cautious about purchasing," he said.

Nonetheless, some e-commerce websites have posted strong sales this week. launched a five-day sales promotion starting from Wednesday. Orders surged by 15 times year-on-year on Wednesday, mainly boosted by sales of air purifies, humidifiers and heaters, Li Bin, vice president of, announced on the company's Weibo account on Thursday. also tried to promote its mobile services by giving away lottery tickets for mobile users on Thursday. During the first minute past 12:00 am, about 200,000 mobile users got free lottery tickets.

"The popularity of Tencent Holdings' instant messaging app WeChat has made the industry realize the power of mobile Internet services," Cao said. "As consumers have turned to mobile devices, e-commerce retailers are all trying to grab market share."

Orders made through's mobile app on Wednesday were 7.3 times last year's level, according to Li.

Downloads of's mobile app reached 100 million in November, and will surpass 200 million next year, Liu Qiangdong, CEO of, told a forum held by China Central Television on Wednesday.

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