618 stories: of dumplings, World Cup and anti-hair loss shampoos

JD.com's annual 618 Shopping Festival drew in rather unconventional product categories compared to Singles Day.

Crawfish is typically consumed during football viewing sessions.
Crawfish is typically consumed during football viewing sessions.

While Singles Day is arguably a frenzied shopping festival that sends Chinese consumers into overdrive with flash sales of mainly fashion and skincare items, last week's 618 Shopping Festival has revolved around more humble household products and food items like rice dumplings, aside also from consumer electronics.

Originally held to mark the anniversary of JD.com, 618, held in its eighth year, coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival this year when rice dumplings are traditionally consumed and the ongoing FIFA World Cup. As a result, JD.com managed to sell 30 million crawfish, a popular snack item for football viewing sessions along with foods that go well with beer such as duck neck.

However, what should interest brands more is that World Cup sponsors and brands with footballer spokespersons recorded healthy sales, according to an analysis provided by GroupM based on data provided by JD.com and Tmall. For example, Budweiser, a World Cup sponsor, recorded the sales of 1 million World Cup limited edition collectible bottles during the festival.  Meanwhile, Beats which has German footballer Mesut Ozil in its recent ad sold the highest number of headphones on Tmall and was second on JD.com for headphone sales. (Tmall rides on the 618 Shopping Festival with its own '618 Ideal Life' shopping festival).

The report includes other interesting random insights too, such as the Chinese consumer preference for salty rice dumplings, accounting for 62% of rice dumplings sold on JD.com. Chinese consumers may also be getting lazier as there has been increased interest on robot vacuum cleaners on Tmall. On a more serious note, search for anti-hair loss shampoo increased by 10 times on JD.com while sales of products from this category also increased by more than 10 times on Tmall. The data suggests that a quarter of post-90s males may be already facing early onset male baldness patterns, according to the analysis.

Overall, JD.com achieved total sales of 159.2 billion RMB from the 18-day shopping festival. Furthermore, sales of fresh produce items on JD.com exceeded 3,000 tonnes, three times more than the amount last year. In a nod to 'new retail' trends, JD.com launched 13,000 of its 'Joy Space borderless-retail' pop-up stores with over 1,400 brands in 292 cities during the festival which generated 320 million RMB in sales.

JD.com also used drone delivery for the first time during the festival for orders sent to Renmin University in Beijing and Xi’an. According to a Chinese report, JD.com staff have traversed over 500 million kilometres for deliveries during the festival. The distance is equivalent to 651 return trips between the earth and the moon.

Campaign 中国

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