Alibaba kicks off COVID-19 recovery with launch of 6.18 shopping festival

Alibaba Group has launched its annual 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival with the e-commerce giant predicting this year’s campaign to be China’s largest sales event since the Coronavirus outbreak rocked the country.

In the first 10 hours of the festival, which runs until June 20, total gross merchandise volume jumped 50 per cent on last year’s figure, while cosmetics and home appliances saw GMV double on the previous year.

Alibaba issued digital coupons for the festival in China to fuel post-pandemic consumption and economic recovery, with coupons and subsidies totaling over RMB14 billion (US$1.96 billion) in value this year.

Over 100,000 brands on Alibaba-owned online store, Tmall, are taking part this year – almost double the previous number of Tmall brands who joined in 2019. These brands include tech giant Apple, which earned more than RMB500 million in sales for its iPhones just five hours into the campaign. There was also a boost in sales for luxury brands including Cartier, Chanel, Burberry, Balenciaga and Montblanc.

“Online consumption has seen a post-pandemic revival since March, and the sales rebound that we have observed on Taobao and Tmall has been very encouraging,” said Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall and Taobao marketing and operations.

Alibaba said that 6.18 paves way for brands to reconnect with customers and grow in digital technologies such as the platform’s 3D shopping feature. Furniture giant IKEA uses the new feature to reimagines its Shanghai Baoshan store in a 3D format.

Brands can also livestream via Taobao Live and over 600 brand executives and 300 celebrities can connect with consumers. There is also offline experiences at over 10,000 brick and-mortar stores stream online during the event.

According to Taobao Live, at the close of the first day GMV had hit RMB5.1 billion.

“For this year’s 6.18, we’ve ramped up efforts to go beyond what we achieved during last year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. We want to go all-in to help sales rebound and merchants recover,” said Bo.

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