JD.com’s 6.18 Shopping Festival: More than Just Discounts

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KEY POINTS

  • JD.com first launched its annual 6.18 Shopping Festival in 2010. JD.com’s 6.18 event runs for 18 days beginning on June 1 through to June 18, as compared to rival Alibaba’s popular Singles’ Day held on November 11.
  • This year on June 1 in the first hour alone, JD.com recorded ¥500 million ($78 million) in sales, an increase of 130% from last year. Several brands including Xiaomi, Nestlé and L’Oréal saw strong sales on the first day of 6.18, and total sales on June 1 were up 80% year over year.
  • This year, as part of its promotions in the lead up to the start of 6.18, JD.com switched the spotlight from discounts alone to showcase advances in its technology prowess.

JD.com first launched its annual 6.18 Shopping Festival in 2010, to compete with rival Alibaba’s popular Singles’ Day held on November 11. JD.com’s annual 6.18 shopping festival takes place over 18 days beginning on June 1 and commemorates the company’s foundation. This year in the first hour alone of the first day of 6.18, JD.com recorded ¥500 million ($78 million) in sales, an increase of 130% from last year. In just the first six minutes, sales in the home appliances category surpassed ¥1 billion ($156 million), while sales of consumer electronics products surpassed¥100 million ($16 million) in just 51 seconds. Moreover, 10,000 smartphones were sold in the first 21 seconds of the event. Total sales on day one of 6.18 increased by 80% year over year.

In the lead up to this year’s 6.18 event, JD.com has planned a series of promotional events beginning on May 25:

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Several brands saw strong sales on the first day of 6.18:

  • Xiaomi sold over 20,000 cellphones in the first two minutes.
  • PurCotton, a Chinese brand that sells baby and personal hygiene products, increased its sales by 110 times.
  • Nestlé coffee sales increased by 426%.
  • L’Oréal sold on average two bottles of men’s face wash and facial cleansers every second. 

In addition to offering shopping discounts for this year’s 6.18 event, JD.com has increased the limit for JD Baitiao—its finance product that provides credit to consumers so they can pay by installment—and will allow interest-free installments for up to one year. 

The Spotlight Shifts to Its Technological Prowess

Most of JD.com’s promotions in the lead up to the 6.18 shopping festival have been related to shopping discounts. This year, however, the company has shifted the spotlight to its technological prowess, in particular its logistics capabilities. 

Autonomous trucks: JD.com unveiled its autonomous truck at the promotion event in the lead up to the shopping festival. According to Jun Xiao, President of JD.com’s X-Business Division, the highly-automated truck has accumulated close to 17,000 hours of test driving on public highways in the US. The trucks are not yet completely autonomous, as a driver is still needed to drive to the logistics center when the truck enters the downtown areas. 

Autonomous planes: JD.com also unveiled an unmanned plane JDY-800. The plane has a 1,000-kilometer flight range with a maximum takeoff weight of 840 kilograms and a speed of 200 kilometers/hour. JD.com expects the plane to be in operation by 2020. According to Xiao, JD.com plans to utilizes various types of logistics drones, depending on the demands on its logistics network. “We plan to build a three-tier smart logistics network consisting of main lines, branch lines and distribution terminals. Based on the demands of different tiers, JD.com has self-developed dozens of types of logistics drones,” said Xiao.

Takeaways

JD.com recorded a strong 80% year-over-year growth in sales volumes on the first day of this year’s 6.18 shopping festival and total sales for the event look to be on track to break last year’s record of ¥119.9 billion ($17.6 billion). JD.com has turned the spotlight to showcasing its retail technological prowess, particularly its logistics capabilities, bringing the message that 6.18 is more than just a shopping festival. JD.com strives to bring technology to retail, building the future of retail for consumers, not only in China, but globally as well.