JD.com 618 Mega-Sale Sees Slowest Growth In Years

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JD.com reports slowest growth in at least five years for 618 shopping extravaganza, as lockdowns and slowing economic conditions hit China spending

Growth at the summer sale event of Chinese e-shopping giant JD.com was the slowest in at least five years, in the latest indication of the economic effects of China’s stringent Covid-19 policies and tightening economic conditions.

Turnover on JD.com’s platforms grew by 10.3 percent to 379.3 billion yuan (£46.2bn) during the 618 shopping event, the slowest since it began disclosing figures in 2017.

JD.com founded the event, named after its 18 June founding date, in 2004 and rivals such as Alibaba and Pinduoduo have since joined in, turning the e-sale into China’s biggest after Singles Day on 11 November.

The event has gradually expanded and now covers the 18 days up to Sunday.

Alibaba and other rivals have joined in the 618 event

Zero-Covid policy

JD.com said in a statement it is “further improving delivery services in urban and rural areas” as it bolsters logistics and market intelligence services during the event.

Lockdowns of varying strictness have been imposed on dozens of Chinese cities this year, including the commercial and manufacturing hub of Shanghai, closing businesses and affecting jobs, supply chains and consumer spending.

But the country’s economy had shown some signs of recovery, with retail sales in May higher after an 11 percent slump in April — although the May figures were still down 6.7 percent on last year.

E-commerce sales in China across the board rose 20.3 percent to $103.6bn (£85bn), based on transactions from more than 40 e-commerce platforms, said market intelligence provider Syntun.

Increased competition

This was slower than last year’s 26.5 percent but also indicated JD.com lost market share to rivals, including streaming apps from ByteDance and Kuaishou that have emerged in recent years as major players in live streaming e-commerce.

Tencent’s WeChat communications app, which has 1.29 billion monthly active users, joined in the 18 June event for the first time this year, offering incentives to merchants broadcasting on its video service.

JD.com and Alibaba reported their slowest revenue growth since going public for the first three months of this year.

Last year also saw slowing growth at consumer events, with Alibaba posting growth of only 8.5 percent for Singles Day, its slowest to date.