China’s E-commerce Giants Are Battling for Annual Double 11 Shopping Festival

Just after the eight-day National Day golden week, the competition among Chinese e-commerce giants has begun – they are preparing for the upcoming annual Double 11 shopping festival. 

Double 11, also known as Singles’ Day festival falling on Nov. 11, is a global shopping event initiated by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009 and adopted by other e-commerce platforms and retailers. Consumers usually expect the largest discount of the year during the festival while businesses expect a significant portion of annual revenues from this shopping festival sales. 

This year, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce platforms are preparing for the festival sooner with various discounts to attract merchants and customers.

With the support of the State Post Office and China Express Association, 14 express logistics companies on Wednesday jointly announced that they would team up with Alibaba’s Tmall and Cainiao Network to officially launch logistics preparations for the upcoming Double 11 shopping festival. 

At the same time, Cainiao said they would speed up delivery during the festival with a logistics digital upgrade.

“For the first time this year, some pre-sold goods will be delivered to the community in advance during the shopping festival, allowing consumers to receive the goods immediately after paying,” Cainiao said in a statement to Pandaily.

What’s more, Cainiao said its Double 11 charter flights hit a record high, reaching more than 200, ensuring that planes arrive in Asian and European countries within 10 days.

“This year’s Tmall Double 11 has been upgraded from a shopping day to a shopping season,” said Bian Zuodong, deputy director of the market supervision department of the State Post Bureau. “I believe that the e-commerce and express delivery industry can work together upstream and downstream to create a stable and orderly Double 11.”

On the same day, JD announced that they would provide brand merchants with increased support, involving supply chain, logistics, finance, and marketing.

JD said it would introduce several major policies for brand merchants, such as intelligent supply chain, global marketing layout, and logistics and financial layout.

What’s more, JD said it would provide tens of thousands of merchants with a Double 11 special loan with a maximum of 1 million yuan.

Before the National Day holiday, Chinese O2O retailer Suning made a sudden announcement to launch its Double 11 promotion ahead of schedule.

Last month, Suning announced that it would officially launch its 2020 Double 11 promotion event on Sept. 28, giving out 5 billion subsidies. The scope of goods included in the subsidies has been expanded to all categories, including home appliances, supermarket items, clothing, and automotive supplies.

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Mo Daiqing, senior analyst and director of the online retail department of China’s E-Commerce Research Center, said Suning’s move is the earliest in history to launch Double 11 promotions in advance, aiming to avoid confrontation with e-commerce giants such as Alibaba, JD and Pinduoduo. 

Kuaishou, a Chinese video-sharing mobile app said it would invest hundreds of millions of cash and 1 billion yuan in internet traffic to support small and medium businesses during the shopping festival from Oct. 31 to Nov. 11. The platform said this is the biggest support for small and medium businesses in the company’s history.

Tmall saw a record 544,000 transactions per second during Double 11 last year, and the full day sales on the platform reached 268.4 billion yuan ($39.87 billion). 

At the end of Nov. 11 last year, JD’s total sales reached 204.4 billion yuan ($29 billion).