China's consumption growth, particularly online consumption, has huge space for further growth despite the general economic slowdown, experts said on Tuesday, an assessment backed by rosy presale data ahead of this year's Tmall Double 11 online shopping spree.
In just one minute after the this year's Tmall Double 11 presale kicked off at midnight on Monday (Beijing time), sales exceeded 100 million yuan ($14.13 million), according to data from e-commerce platform tmall.com under Alibaba, the main battlefield of the largest annual online shopping spree.
Figures from some businesses involved in this year's Tmall Double 11 presale also point toward climbing enthusiasm for the country's largest online shopping spree. US skincare brand Estee Lauder, for example, saw sales reach nearly 500 million yuan within just 25 minutes after the presale started, exceeding the company's full-day sales on November 11 last year.
So far, nearly 100 products saw sales exceed 10 million yuan during the presale.
More than 500 million consumers, about one-third of China's population, will take part in this year's Tmall Double 11 online shopping festival on November 11, Jiang Fan, president of taobao.com and tmall.com said on Monday.
Participants will also grow significantly for this year's Double 11 festival, as about 50,000 brands and businesses will join the event for the first time this year, data provided by Alibaba to the Global Times showed.
In recent years, tmall.com has repeatedly broken its Double 11 sales records. It achieved total sales of 213.5 billion yuan on November 11 last year, compared with 168.2 billion yuan on November 11, 2017 and 120.7 billion yuan on that day in 2016.
Another e-commerce giant, JD.com, started Double 11 presale on Friday. The company's sales for the 2018 Double 11 Festival, which ran from November 1-11, reached 159.8 billion yuan, up 25.7 percent on a yearly basis.
Dai Yaping, a Shanghai-based consumer, told the Global Times on Tuesday that there are "nearly 30 products" on her online shopping list for this year's festival, arranging from pet food to health products.
"I don't think prices are really as low as many people expect, but it has become a sort of habit for me to shop a lot on this day," she said.
The continued burgeoning sales of the Double 11 festival also reflects the vigor of China's consumption market and the nation's spending power despite the downward pressure on the economy, experts told the Global Times.
Retail sales were up 7.8 percent year-on-year in September, compared with 7.5 percent growth in August. In the first three quarters, retail sales rose by 8.2 percent on a yearly basis, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.
"The fact that China's consumption still grows relatively fast shows that China's economy is resilient and things are not as pessimistic as some overseas media reports have stated. On the other hand, the growing consumption will also give impetus to the broad economy when other sectors are weighed down by factors such as the China-US trade war," Zhang Yi, CEO of Shenzhen-based iiMedia Research, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
According to Zhang, curbs on home-buying have created great scope for other types of consumption.
Independent Beijing-based analyst Liu Dingding said that China's rapid industrial updating will boost consumption. "For example, the shift from the 4G to the 5G era will push many consumers to change their mobile phones, pushing sales in relevant industries," he told the Global Times, adding that the e-commerce sector will show even more potential for growth.
"Online shopping's proportion of overall consumption will grow increasingly larger, as e-commerce penetrates deeper in the country," he said.
In the first three quarters this year, online retail sales surged 20.5 percent on a yearly basis, compared with 18.5 percent growth in the same period last year, NBS data showed.