As logistics and supply chains normalize, the first “6.18 Shopping Festival” following the lifting of China’s COVID-19 lockdown measures sparked enthusiasm among Chinese consumers and merchants alike. Amid fierce competition, e-commerce platforms implemented various strategies to stimulate consumption and attract traffic. These include increasing discounts, benefits, and promotional efforts, simplifying discount mechanisms to enhance customer satisfaction, and offering features such as night-time delivery for added convenience.
In consumer categories, wearable products like clothes and shoes proved this year’s most popular items. Digital appliances and high-end beauty and skincare products also attracted considerable attention. Additionally, personal hobbies have emerged as a new growth point, led by sports and outdoors gear.
Small and medium-sized businesses boosted their presence in this year’s 6.18 competition, thanks to the support and assistance of the platforms. This shift reflects China’s e-commerce platforms’ emphasis on diversifying brands to add vitality to the market.
Livestreaming studios took their place as one of the most important channels for Chinese consumers to participate in the shopping festival. Livestream e-commerce saw a Gross Merchandise Volume of $25.38 billion (184.4 billion RMB) during this 6.18 festival, a rise of 27.6% year-over-year. According to a survey by consulting firm Zhi Meng, more consumers shopped in brand stores’ livestreaming studios and KOLs’ promotional livestream shows than through other channels.
As AI technology takes the global tech world by storm, it is also playing an increasingly important role in China’s 6.18 e-commerce marketing. AI technologies such as intelligent shopping recommendations and customer service chatbots have been actively applied, assisting platforms and merchants in better understanding and satisfying consumers’ demands, providing customised shopping experiences, decreasing marketing costs, and increasing sales and user loyalty.
For instance, during this year’s 6.18 festival, Baidu’s AI art creation tool Wen Xin Yi Ge helped e-commerce giant JD.com create the first offline AI-powered advertisement in China. Using AI, the production cycle can be shortened by 70%, and the production cost can be reduced by around 80%. AI can also provide better solutions for effects that real people may find hard to achieve, bringing more creative possibilities and enhancing innovation.
Combining these two popular trends, AI-powered digital human livestreaming has become one of the hottest marketing strategies for this year’s shopping festival campaigns. For instance, JD.com launched “Yan Xi,” a digital human product that is said to be able to reduce costs by up to 95% and increase average sales by over 30% for businesses. According to JD’s report, Yan Xi’s viewership increased over fivefold in this year’s “6.18 Shopping Festival” compared to the “11.11 Shopping Festival” last year, resulting in a 246% increase in transaction volume.