Chinese Shoppers Spend $126 Billion During Online Sales Extravaganza

Online shopping events have become more common and larger over the years. This appears to be especially true in China, where Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) hauled in an estimated $38 billion for its “Singles Day” promotion on November 11 last year. As one-day shopping sales go, Singles Day is the undisputed champion.

Thursday, June 18, marked the end of a promotion “festival” in China that began on June 1 and is called “6.18.” Alibaba’s main competitor, Inc. (NASDAQ: JD) raked in an estimated $38 billion during the 17-day shopping spree, about a third more than the company pulled in last year.

Alibaba, which also offered promotional pricing during the 6.18 festival, reported that sales totaled about $98.5 billion during the same 17-day period. Together, and Alibaba generated sales totaling $126.5 billion during the festival.

This year’s 6.18 festival resulted in record sales and may be a sign that Chinese consumers have begun to open their wallets. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns that kept consumers at home for more than two months forced Chinese consumers to buy many goods online and the experience must have been satisfactory.

A report at CNBC noted that May retail sales in China fell by 2.8% year over year but that online sales of physical goods rose by 15.6%. According to U.S. data released earlier this week, U.S. retail sales in May fell by an overall 6.1% year over year while non-store (i.e., online) retailers posted a rise of 30.8% in sales.

In the United States, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is gearing up for a “Big Style Sale” beginning June 22 that is expected to last for seven to 10 days. The company’s Prime Day sale, normally held in July, has been postponed this year until September as the company works to keep up with the surge in demand brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last year’s Prime Day event lasted for two days and resulted in about $7.2 billion in sales for Amazon. Other U.S. retailers also offered special pricing during the period, and the estimated boost to online sales for the full two-day period was 68% over a typical Monday-Tuesday sales total.

For the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, online sales totaled about $28.5 billion last year, with the biggest portion going to Cyber Monday with sales of $9.4 billion.