China's "Double 12" shopping festival took place on December 12. This year, Chinese comedian Li Dan made his official debut on Taobao Live. On the night of December 10, the talk show personality promoted 292 products — from retailers including Gucci, Nike, and Walmart, during a livestream. The event attracted over 11 million viewers — according to Alibaba’s Taobao data, the cumulative sales of Li’s first live show were over 4.6 million (32 million RMB), setting a new record. Yet, Li Dan’s record-breaking-livestreaming was the only highlight of this year’s Double 12.
Initially created to continue the success of Singles' Day's (which takes place on November 11), Double 12 was a boon for small and medium-sized businesses that may have missed Double 11. However, this year's Double 12 event was noticeably subdued. Marketing activities, merchant coupons, and posters appeared in lower numbers during pre-sales. Many online merchants decided not to take part in or stock up on additional goods, and leveraged the event for inventory clearance. Additionally, none of the e-commerce platforms released their Gross Merchandising Value (GMV) data or other insights. According to internal sources at JD.com, "Everyone is preparing for the New Year and Spring Festival shopping spree. [We] didn't see any releases of related data."
The Jing Take
Shopping fervor for one of China's most prominent shopping festivals is cooling down. Even a month prior — during the Singles' Day shopping festival on November 11 (also known as Double 11), most e-tailers opted not to publish their GMV for the first time, indicating stagnant growth. Given the subdued reactions during Singles' Day, Double 12 was undoubtedly affected.
For context: China's two main shopping festivals — Singles' Day and "618" — take place in the first and second half of the year, respectively. Singles' Day occurs during the National Day (October 1) and Christmas periods, when consumer demand and sentiments are normally higher. Meanwhile, Double 12's focus has shifted to those who are looking for good bargains and deals, to save money ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities. Moreover, this year, the Double 12 traffic was significantly impacted by the public's reactions to China's loosening COVID restrictions.
Alibaba's insiders revealed while most locals know about Singles' Day and make sure to have their online shopping carts ready for the low price discounts —"It is rare for people to stay up late at night to shop on Double 12." Therefore, even though merchants have very innovative and refreshing offerings, without the large-scale traffic support of Double 12 will not necessarily pay off. That said, consumers and businesses will increasingly concentrate on significant shopping carnivals, and smaller events like Double 12 may disappear.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.