618 promotion mirrors rebound of China's consumption after curbing Omicron wave
Updated 20:57, 19-Jun-2022
Staff in a logistics company sort out parcels during the 618 (June 18) Mid-Year Shopping Festival, Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, June 17, 2022. /CFP

Staff in a logistics company sort out parcels during the 618 (June 18) Mid-Year Shopping Festival, Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, June 17, 2022. /CFP

The online 618 (June 18) Mid-Year Shopping Festival was the latest event to reflect the recovery of China's consumption, especially after curbing the latest Omicron wave that haunted some Chinese major cities over the past two months.

The annual shopping bonanza, featuring promotional campaigns at multiple e-commerce platforms, was first coined by in 2004 to mark its founding anniversary. 

On Sunday, reported a total transaction volume of 379.3 billion yuan ($56.47 billion) for 618 this year, increasing by 10.3 percent from last year, as of Saturday. The grand promotion kicked off on June 1 and will run through June 20 this year.

Shanghai and Beijing, the two largest Chinese cities in terms of gross domestic product, have picked up momentum for recovery after Omicron hit. Data from showed Shanghai and Beijing respectively ranked second and first, during the platform's 618 festival in spending power among all 31 places on the Chinese mainland, including provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, as of Saturday.

Dampened by COVID-19 flare-ups, China's retail sales in May shrank 6.7 percent from a year ago, picking up from a contraction of 11.1 percent in April. 

In JD's 618 this year, key consumption trends ranged from consumers' rising demand for quality services, and new and greener products, to the fast growth of omni-channel retail, agricultural products and more, the company said. 


Following a contraction in April, China's e-commerce logistics sector rebounded in May after the epidemic was brought under control. 

The index tracking e-commerce logistics activities stood at 104.3 points in the period, up 2.1 points from April, according to a recent survey jointly undertaken by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and e-commerce giant

During this 618, the single-day parcel collection volume and delivery volume both exceeded the pre-epidemic peak levels in Shanghai, said on Sunday. 

China has rolled out a series of detailed measures to further tap its consumption potential and tackle short-term bottlenecks, including relaxing restrictions on car purchases and handing out billions of yuan in shopping vouchers.

Read more:

Shanghai publishes economic recovery and revitalization plans following COVID-19 outbreak

Beijing issues action plan to stimulate business, consumption amid epidemic

Beijing has launched a livestreaming promotion campaign to expand e-commerce business recently.

China will step up the integrated development of online and offline shopping, and nurture new consumption trends like customization and experiential shopping, Vice Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping said earlier. 

Besides for 618, China has a bunch of other grand online shopping promotions throughout every year, such as the March 8 International Women's Day sale and a pre-Christmas 12.12 sale on December 12. 


But the biggest online shopping extravaganza would undoubtedly be the Double 11 Shopping Festival on November 11, which started in 2009 in China and is still going strong. 

E-commerce platforms in east Asian countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have also participated in this shopping festival, which is no longer a way of shopping online, but a cultural phenomenon.

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