Sales during China’s ‘618’ shopping gala surge as economy steadily recovers
Published: Jun 01, 2023 12:10 PM Updated: Jun 01, 2023 12:08 PM's promotional material of '618' shopping gala Photo: VCG's promotional material of '618' shopping gala Photo: VCG

Major Chinese e-commerce platforms including and Taobao have reported buoyant sales during this year's 618 mid-year promotion gala, further proof of recovery in consumer spending and manufacturing activity in China.

Domestic leading e-commerce platform, which initiated the mid-year promotional event that officially kicked off at 8 pm Wednesday, announcing that brands including Midea, Haier, Xiaomi and Apple saw sales exceeded 100 million yuan ($14.06 million) several minutes after 8 pm. The number of brands whose sales exceeded 100 million yuan in 10 minutes increased by 23 percent year-on-year, reported.

The sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) continue to grow thanks to a series of favorable policies to boost vehicle consumption. data showed that the sales of NEVs surged 200 percent year-on-year in first 10 minutes and sales volume of vehicle charging equipment jumped 30-fold during the same period, according to information shared with the Global Times.

Chinese e-commerce platform told the Global Times that the retail sales at its offline stores across the country had increased by 147 percent year-on-year since May 24. Specifically, its sales of central air conditioners surged 684 percent year-on-year on Wednesday, the day of the shopping event.

The 618 shopping spree is an important window in observing new consumption trends, and also a barometer of China's consumer market. This year's 618 is also the first large-scale shopping festival since the country's adjustment of COVID-19 response measures in January, garnering widespread attention, according to Lu Zhenwang, founder of Shanghai Wanqing Commerce Consulting.

"Domestic e-commerce platforms are expected to post higher sales volume during the month-long event compared with last year, mainly due to the unleashing of people's pent-up demand and rising consumer demand for high-quality and new-generation products," he told the Global Times on Thursday.

This year, domestic e-commerce platforms and brands have upped their effort to compete with each other, including offering discounts and consumption vouchers to attract online shoppers.

Apple's official online store on Alibaba's e-commerce marketplace Tmall also joined the 618 shopping spree by offering coupons from Wednesday to Saturday. On Wednesday night, the Apple store ran its first livestreaming event on Tmall, which lasted about one hours and attracted an audience of 1.28 million people, data showed.

According to data released by Xiaomi, the brand reported sales of 1 billion yuan in about 13 minutes after the shopping event commenced on Wednesday night and reached 4.1 billion yuan in about four hours. Xiaomi products saw price cuts of up to 3,000 yuan, for example, its flagship phone Xiaomi 13 Pro was discounted 400 yuan for the first time, the company said.

"Chinese consumers have become more rational and are inclined to buy higher quality products at a reasonably lower price," Lu said, noting that supply-side structural reform should be deepened to provide quality and attractive products and services to meet the demand of consumption upgrading.

Looking ahead, China's consumer sector will continue to rebound, and we forecast China's nominal household spending will reach 10 to11 percent in 2023, UBS economists led by Wang Tao wrote in a research note they sent to the Global Times.

The recovery of urban service activities, especially those of small and medium-sized enterprises, will help create more jobs and accordingly increase average incomes, they noted, adding that the recovery of consumption activities and improvement in consumer confidence, along with the release of excess savings, will also contribute to further consumption recovery.

A meeting convened by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on April 28 stressed the key for the economy to steadily recover relies on the return and expansion of market demand, urging efforts in making proactive fiscal policy "more effectual" and prudent monetary policy "more targeted" so as to create synergy for expanding demand.

"We predict that the central government will maintain pro-growth policies. But given that a lower basis will boost economic rebound in the second quarter, the authorities will unlikely roll out large-scale stimulus policies recently," Wang said, noting that the People's Bank of China may cut the reserve requirement ratio once for the rest of 2023.