A glimpse of China's mid-year online shopping spree
Chinese Internet users splurged on the mid-year online shopping spree on Sunday.
While November 11, or Single's Day, is the largest online shopping festival in China created by Alibaba's Tmall, June 18 ("6/18") shopping festival was launched by JD.com, Tmall's arch rival.
Other companies soon jumped on the bandwagon and began to offering special prices to get more customers.
On June 18, JD.com reported its first hour sales more than doubled from the same period last year. Tmall pocketed over 100 million yuan (14.71 million US dollars) seven minutes after its opening. Another Chinese e-commerce heavyweight Suning.com saw its orders more than quadruple from a year ago.
According to iResearch, a Beijing-based consultancy, while demand is high, Chinese consumers tend to be rational by caring more about quality instead of price.
The top five items on the shopping list of JD.com consumers are cell phones, air conditioners, flat panel computers, laptops and baby formula. Consumers are more selective in quality.
Kaola.com, a cross-border e-commerce platform, said consumers are becoming more critical in selecting big names, but were less interested in popular best-sellers.
Cao Lei, director of China E-Commerce Research Center, said e-commerce has shifted from "price wars" to responding to the demands of the affluent and sophisticated middle class.
To make fresh food reach consumers in the shortest period of time possible, Tmall's cold chain service is operating around the clock. The firm delivers nearly 500 tons of fresh food a day.
E-commerce platforms are also testing the use of drones to make speedy deliveries. At this year's "6/18" shopping festival, Suning.com deployed drones for deliveries to rural areas.
JD.com uses augmented reality and virtual reality to offer interactive shopping experiences. The company also employs robots, driverless vehicles and drones for deliveries.
Xu Lei, JD Group's chief marketing officer, said retail sales will be driven by changing consumer habits and technology upgrades.
The mega-spending spree came as the world's second largest economy transitions from its dependence on export and investment to consumer spending.
Growth in property development investments slowed in May for the first time since November, but retail sales grew 10.7 percent year on year in May boosted by strong online sales, signaling continued consumption strength.
China is the world's largest online shopping market, with about 467 million online consumers spending about 26.1 trillion yuan last year, up 19.8 percent year on year.