Sales of the Double Eleven (November 11) online shopping festival are expected to post a double-digit increase in China this year, and the growth rate is likely to surpass those of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping promotions in the US, even though China's sales will grow from a much bigger base, a senior Chinese trade expert predicted.
The Double Eleven shopping festival kick-started presales in the wee hours of Wednesday, when Viya and Li Jiaqi - two Chinese live-streaming icons - helped to generate a presales record of 7.8 billion yuan ($1.17 billion). Millions of Chinese pulled an all-nighter, giving the digital duo combined browsing traffic of 300 million views.
Many awoke the next morning with a sober question: Did the event actually save or waste money?
Zhao Ping, vice president of the international trade department at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, predicted that the sales of Double Eleven shopping festival will register double-digit growth this year and may even expand at a faster pace than the US' Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional events, even as the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout earlier in the year crimped Chinese consumers' disposable incomes.
In a way, the coronavirus further entrenched online shopping into the Chinese way of life, Zhao said.
In 2019, the Double Eleven shopping festival saw sales revenue of 410.1 billion yuan, up 30.5 percent year-on-year.
That figure was far more than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events, which had combined sales of $16.8 billion in 2019. Black Friday sales showed a 14-percent annual increase and Cyber Monday sales grew 19 percent year-on-year, according to media reports.
Zhao predicted that the Double Eleven shopping festival will see a growth rate of between 10-20 percent this year.
"As of September, online consumption accounted for 24.3 percent of retail sales. No other country in the world has such a high level of online consumption," Zhao told the Global Times on Thursday.
Zhao said sales growth is likely to surpass that of US online shopping festivals, even as the Chinese growth rate is measured on a much higher base, as China's recovery in the supply end and economic fundamentals are much better than the US.
The sales of the Double Eleven festival will also get a sizable boost from the rise of live-streaming this year.
"I like to decide what to buy based on the recommendations of celebrity live-streaming hosts such as Viya and Li Jiaqi," Ivy Chang, a netizen, told the Global Times. "They really know what they are selling and there are some discounts offered if I choose to buy goods from their channels."
The US economy fell into its worst recession since 1947 in the second quarter, adversely affecting the prospects of 2020 Black Friday sales.