Every holiday, Chinese consumers splurge on gifts and trinkets for their loved ones. These holidays have turned into major shopping events, as consumers cannot resist sales and special promotions. No wonder, both local and foreign businesses rush to take advantage of the opportunities they present to boost sales.
In recent years, e-commerce has become a cultural phenomenon in China. Online retailers are drawn to this billion-dollar market, which comes alive especially during special events. In 2017, China’s total online retail sales of consumer goods reached US$198.126 billion.
Biggest E-Shopping Holidays in China
Chinese New Year
Also known as the Spring Festival, this is China’s most important holiday that falls anywhere between January and February. With most people drawn to the convenience of online shopping, gift giving has reached new heights. Aside from the traditional red envelopes filled with pocket money, offerings like food products, alcoholic beverages, electronics and clothing items have also become popular. This year, e-commerce company JD.com recorded a remarkable 110% rise in its alcohol sales.
In China, there are actually three celebrations of Valentine’s Day – the February 14 event, the Lantern Festival in March and the Double Seventh Festival in August. During the February affair, there is an increase in sales of all kinds of gift products, but the most popular ones are flowers, makeup and perfume. Valentine’s Day is also a perfect opportunity for retailers to sell wine.
Women’s Day – March 8
Celebrated annually on March, Women’s Day has many names, thanks to the e-commerce platforms that hype up the event. JD.com has its Butterfly Festival, while Tmall and JuMei dubbed theirs as Queen Festival and Goddess Festival, respectively. During this event, cosmetics and beauty products, as well as women’s fashion items, sell the most. Last year, sales on Tmall and another subsidiary of Alibaba, Taobao, reportedly reached US$4.5 billion.
On June 1, parents and grandparents are expected to shower their children with gifts. It has become a major shopping day in China, with school-related products, children’s wear and toys going on sale to attract consumers. Promotions from outlets begin as early as May. In 2017, gross sales of Alibaba totaled around US$1.1 billion.
The National Day celebration, starting from October 1, lasts for an entire week (known as “Golden Week”). This is a great opportunity for retailers to launch campaigns in promoting their brand. In 2016, Chinese consumers reportedly spent US$180 billion on shopping. Alcohol consumption is typically high during the Golden Week, with sales rising as the entire country go out and celebrate.
Although not a traditional holiday for the Chinese, Christmas has become increasingly popular, especially for young people. It is celebrated more as a shopping festival rather than a family gathering, where consumers are eager to open their wallets to buy imported and luxury goods. Wine sales in the second half of the year typically get a boost due to the holiday season. Products go on sale as early as December 14.
Special Sales Events
Singles’ Day/Double Eleven
Single’s Day (also known as Double Eleven) is probably the biggest e-commerce day in China. Alibaba’s Jack Ma transformed the de facto holiday celebrated on November 11 into a big day of consumerism in 2009. The company amassed a staggering US$17.8 billion in sales within 24 hours in 2016.
Then, there is the Double Twelve, held on December 12 as an end-of-season promotional sale. Alibaba also recently launched the 9.9 Wine Festival. This is held from September 1 to 9. During the event’s inauguration in 2016, sales of alcohol reached around US$280 million.
618 is JD.com’s answer to Alibaba’s November extravaganza. It is usually held on June 18 and though not as successful as Single’s Day, sales are still huge. In 2017, it reached over US$17.6 billion in sales.
Conclusion on Major E-Commerce Sales Holidays in China
Overall, China’s e-commerce market provides plentiful opportunities for foreign companies to introduce their brand or boost their brand presence in the market. With festivals occurring almost every month, they can pick niche events that best fit the products they sell.
E-commerce in China is highly competitive, but with the right marketing strategy, businesses can navigate this landscape with ease and reach out to their target consumers. For international companies that aspire to enter this market, being knowledgeable about these Chinese e-commerce holidays is the right way to go.