Chinese consumers focus on green consumption during Singles Day shopping

E-commerce heavyweights in China hit record highs during the recent 2021 extravaganza tagged Singles Day Sales.

China e-Commerce Sales 2021

Despite a low-key start without countdowns on platforms, this year’s Singles Day shopping extravaganza has showcased enormous consumption vitality and injected fresh impetus into China’s economic development, with an emphasis on inclusive growth and eco-friendly consumption, said industry experts.

Alibaba Group recorded 540 billion yuan ($84.5 billion) in gross merchandise sales during this year’s shopping spree, up 8.45 percent on a yearly basis.

JD, another e-commerce heavyweight, said its accumulated sales rose 28.5 percent year-on-year to 349 billion yuan over the 11-day promotion that started from 8 pm on Oct 31.

Major online retailers emphasized the significance of empowering small and medium-sized brands this year. For instance, as of 11 pm on Thursday, 698 small and medium-sized brands raked in more than 10 million yuan in sales, according to data from Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-customer site.

A total of 78 brands saw transaction volumes skyrocket from over 10 million yuan in last year’s gala to exceed 100 million yuan this year, Tmall said.

JD said transaction volume of 31 brands surpassed 1 billion yuan during the shopping carnival, with Apple’s products surpassing 10 billion yuan. The turnover of 43,276 merchants surged more than 200 percent year-on-year, while the number of small and medium-sized brands increased by over fourfold on a yearly basis.

Through the use of new energy vehicles, solar power systems and recyclable packages, JD reduced carbon emissions by 26,000 metric tons during this Singles Day period compared with last year. For example, recyclable packages were used 11.3 million times during the promotion this year.

“This year’s Singles Day shopping festival has stimulated consumers’ purchasing enthusiasm and shored up the confidence of shoppers. It also demonstrated China’s immense consumption potential and the economy’s strong resilience in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wang Yun, a researcher with the Academy of Macroeconomic Research.

According to her, the focus on sustainable and inclusive growth during this year’s gala is in accordance with the trend of green development and the country’s carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals, which will have a positive effect on guiding green consumption.

Wang Xiaofeng, principle analyst from research firm Forrester, said online retailers worked on a greener Double 11 and put an emphasis on utilizing eco-friendly products and supporting green logistics and package recycling, in a bid to encourage green consumption.

They also let seniors join the shopping spree by providing a special app mode featuring larger text and icons and voice-assisted technology, Wang noted.

In addition, the on-demand retail market witnessed robust growth during the shopping spree. Dada Group, a Chinese on-demand delivery and retail platform, said sales of home appliances on Shop Now-a one-hour delivery service-and JD Daojia increased by more than 10 times compared with last year, while the turnover of smartphones jumped 4.7 times year-on-year.

Consumption is playing an increasingly vital role in bolstering the development of the real economy in the world’s second-largest economy, said Wang Qiang, an associate professor of the Business School at the Renmin University of China, adding that online shopping has provided strong support for China’s consumption growth and ensured people’s livelihoods amid the pandemic.