Double 11 shopping spree kicks off with record sales expected amid new COVID-19 outbreaks
New record sales are expected amid new COVID-19 outbreaks
Published: Nov 01, 2021 09:08 PM
Workers sort parcels of the Double 11 shopping festival in an e-commerce industrial park in Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu Province on Wednesday. Photo: VCG

Workers sort parcels of the Double 11 shopping festival in an e-commerce industrial park in Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu Province. Photo: VCG

This year's Double 11 shopping festival, the largest online sales event in China, has got off to a solid start with consumers showing great enthusiasm, e-commerce platforms reporting robust initial sales and railway authorities moving to dispatch high-speed trains to transport goods.  

Though recent COVID-19 outbreaks have damped certain consumer activities across the country, the early start of the annual shopping spree, which usually falls on November 11, highlighted Chinese consumer's solid spending power and offered much needed boost to consumption, a main growth driver. With a great start, analysts are expecting new record sales this year. 

Aiming to boost sales, e-commerce platforms kicked off the event on Sunday night. 

On, more than 190 million items were sold in just four hours after it kicked off its Double 11 shopping festival campaign at 8 pm on Sunday, according to the platform.

Highlighting the increased efficiency, roughly 2 hours after the official start, more than 1 million Chinese consumers had received the goods they purchased on 

Sales of many products on the platform outperformed those of last year. For example, sales of electric home appliances in the first hour surpassed sales for the entire day last year. Cosmetics sales surpassed last year's one-day level in just four hours.

Alibaba Group's Tmall also enjoyed a similar boom. In just one hour after the e-commerce platform started its Double 11 campaign, more than 2,600 brands had seen their sales surpass last year's first day sales, according to a statement issued by platform.

Though statistics remain limited, the great enthusiasm among consumers is also palpable. The topic about Double 11 topped Chinese social media rankings on Monday morning, with the hashtag "paying the account due" attracting over 270 million views on Sina Weibo.   

Sun Qi, a Beijing resident, told the Global Times on Monday that she bought 17 products on Alibaba's Taobao this year, mostly clothes and daily necessities. She is also considering buying an iPhone 13. 

Sun said that the discounts and gift packages offered on Taobao for VIP clients are relatively larger this year, so her shopping cart for this year's Double 11 will also be much bigger compared with last year. 

Another Beijing-based consumer surnamed Zhang told the Global Times that "the Double 11 shopping festival is relatively long, and there's always something to buy during this period." He said he plans to purchase a computer and some clothes this year. 

Also underscoring solid sales, China Railway said on Monday that it has designated more than 1,000 high-speed trains that will carry packages in their extra space to support logistics during the Double 11 festival.

Experts said that this year's Double 11 sales will likely surpass last year's level, as new COVID-19 outbreaks will likely push consumers to choose online shopping as their major spending channel. 

"The categories of products available to consumers during this year's Double 11 are more varied compared with last year, which will give consumers more and better choices, as well as spur their shopping enthusiasm," Liu Xuezhi, a senior macroeconomic analyst at Bank of Communications, told the Global Times. 

Liu predicted that digital products will be a new growth point for this year's Double 11.

Experts' optimistic outlook for this year's Double 11 sales comes as consumption in the country continues recovery. In the first nine months of 2021, China's total retail sales surged by 16.4 percent on a yearly basis and by 8 percent compared with the first nine months of 2019, reaching 31.8 trillion yuan ($4.97 trillion). 

Zhao Ping, vice president of the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said that the 8-percent growth rate showed that China's consumption has returned to "normalized growth." 

She told the Global Times that some consumer sectors such as cross-provincial travel and the restaurant industry might be affected by new COVID-19 outbreaks in the fourth quarter. 

However, more festivals will occur during this period, including Double 11 and New Year's Day, which will promote consumption and growth will be higher than in other periods of 2021, Zhao said.