Top Chinese online shopping websites report bumper sales on June 18
China’s mid-year online shopping carnival that ended June 18 has helped e-commerce platform jd.com accumulate orders totaling 119.9 billion yuan from June 1-18, while Alibaba’s Taobao, the top rival of jd.com said it would keep the figures secret. The two top online shopping sites are reported to have resorted to price wars to compete in the 6.18 promotion, although industry insiders believe they’re battling to land more high-quality stores and brands through added value services.

The June 18 shopping carnival, started by jd.com as an anniversary celebration, has risen to be the mid-year equivalent of the well-known Double 11, with the just-finished promotion bringing in almost all major platforms.

Despite booming sales, stores selling through jd.com and Tmall recently complained about involuntary price wars spurred by the two platforms’ 6.18 competition that is suspected to have incurred losses to online merchants and consumers.

The year 2016 saw JD.com turn to profit and Alibaba’s market value exceed $300bn, which is a sign the two giants would get into more fierce competition on multiple levels.

LeTV, (also referred as Le.com) released a statement, accusing Alibaba and jd.com of forcing below-cost prices and thus allowing scalpers to buy at low prices. LeTV has since cancelled partial orders, citing the reason that more sales under the circumstances would merely lead to more losses.

Meanwhile, it was widely reported at the beginning of June that JD.com and Tmall had demanded loyalty and asked stores and brands selling on both platforms to take sides.

Some stores told the China Business Journal in a survey that the control exerted by individual platform on them is actually weakening. Industry insiders say the competition would not enable any single player to dominate the market, so brands and shops are suggested not to put all eggs in one basket.

Analysts believe the competition would rely mainly on the value added services, like big data that could ‘paint portrait of potential consumers’, intelligent logistics that raises efficiency and Omni-channel marketing that connects online and offline data, reported the Beijing Business Today. Whoever has access to better quality stores and more brands would win.

JD.com and Alibaba are competing based on their different business mode and expansion roadmaps.

“Online shopping websites have become indispensable channels for brands. While Alibaba tends to focus on marketing, JD.com cares more about sales,” Wang Qing, the general manager of socialbeta.com, told the China Business Journal.

Wang Qing gave an example of Alibaba’s 6.18 promotion, which has chosen to put an emphasis on content while relying on big data to help brands market. “Alibaba has been reforming its platform. In May, it revealed the most thorough brands upgrade ever, changing its catchword to ‘ideal life at Tmall’,” said Wang.

Liu Qiangdong, the CEO of JD.com, on June 18 shared some data through his social media account, claiming that first one hour of 6.18 promotions have seen sales volume shoot nearly 250 percent, with clothing up 413 percent, jewels 700 percent. “Without women, the world does not exist,” he boasted. 

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