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The 2018 11.11 Global Shopping Festival celebrates the 10th anniversary since its inception by Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, in 2009. This shopping festival has made remarkable achievements in the past 10 years. In 2017, Alibaba smashed its previous 11.11 sales records to achieve USD25 billion. Ninety percent of these sales were made on mobile, showing the importance of m-commerce in China as well as Alibaba’s ability to reach new internet users. With players like JD.com and Suning entering the battle, which creates further competition, challenges remain on revitalising the world’s largest shopping date in the coming decades.
The leading e-commerce giant Alibaba is gearing up for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Alibaba’s “New Retail” strategy and globalisation will be the two key themes for 11.11 shopping this year. In 2016, Jack Ma envisioned a seamless merge of offline, online and logistics for a dynamic new world of retailing. Enabled by leading-edge technology, Alibaba’s “New Retail” redefines traditional core elements of retailing—consumers, merchandise and stores—and the relationship among these elements to build a data-powered consumer-centric model. The 2018 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will offer enjoyable shopping experiences and further showcase how to integrate products into interactive content and entertainment through new shopping occasions and blended formats. For example, in October, Alibaba held their Tmall Collection “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show—a livestreamed 4-hour event attracting millions of online viewers where consumers were able to purchase items they saw in real-time across different media platforms.
The other major competitors, JD.com and Suning, are stepping up their paces to prepare for this shopping season. JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce player, made further upgrades to its logistic capacity to guarantee superior consumer experience. JD.com is planning to launch intelligent packing equipment based on magnetic levitation technology, which will be the first time it is used in China. During JD.com’s flagship 618 Shopping Festival, the company showcased its advances in the supply chain, utilising unmanned warehouses and daily order-processing power. The popular mid-year shopping event brought big sales for JD.com.
Suning is also betting on Chinese consumption, building its seamless online-to-offline ecosystem. While traditionally well-positioned in home and tech categories, Suning has aggressively expanded into fresh food with offline mini stores. In addition to building multiple formats, the company launched its own social e-commerce service, Pinggou, a group-buying service through its mini-app in WeChat where shoppers invite others to form a group and receive group discounts on products. Covering various shopping occasions from online to offline, Suning differentiated itself on the experiential component of shopping and could be a strong threat to other retailers during the 11.11 shopping festival.
JD.com’s 618 Shopping Festival sales grabbed Chinese consumers’ wallets, which might affect consumers’ purchasing power. As major e-commerce retailers refine their strategies to exceed consumer expectations, quality and service remain the big drivers of purchasing decisions over price, despite all of the discounts.