- Alibaba’s Taobao & Tmall Group will start presales on the evening of October 24, with expectations of attracting about 1 billion consumers
- JD.com is betting on what the firm calls ‘genuine low prices’ to woo local consumers who are tightening their purse strings amid a slow economy
China’s e-commerce giants are gearing up for the world’s largest online shopping season that kicks off next week, counting on bargain-basement prices to attract consumers reluctant to spend amid China’s sputtering economy.
Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao and Tmall Group will start presales for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival – also known as Singles’ Day – on the evening of October 24, with expectations of attracting about 1 billion consumers this year, according to a company statement on Friday. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
Featuring over 80 million products at their lowest prices this year, Taobao and Tmall Group said it will focus on “serving Chinese consumers looking for value-for-money products by offering the best deals”.
The Singles’ Day shopping festival, in its 15th year since it was created by Alibaba in 2009, reflects how the country’s e-commerce giants are doubling down on low-price strategies to entice consumers amid an uneven post-pandemic economic recovery and deflationary pressure.Alibaba rival JD.com, which will kick off sales at 8pm on October 23, is also betting on what the firm calls “genuine low prices” to woo local consumers who are tightening their purse strings amid a slow economy.
The Beijing-based company is offering best-price guarantees for more than 800 million products for 30 days. If shoppers find more affordable prices elsewhere for items they bought on JD.com during this year’s sale, they will be compensated for the price difference.
“For this year’s Double 11, we will offer a large number of quality and affordable goods and many money-saving and hassle-free measures and services,” Xin Lijun, chief executive at JD Retail, said at an event in Beijing on Thursday, acknowledging that Chinese consumers have increasingly become more price sensitive.
Trudy Dai Shan, chief executive of Taobao and Tmall Group, expressed the company’s commitment to China’s consumer market, adding that there was still significant room for growth.
“The China market [is] incredibly resilient with irrefutable growth opportunities,” she said at a press conference on Friday. “Taobao and Tmall are deeply committed to serving the vast China market by partnering with brands and merchants to provide consumers with even better deals and consumption experiences.”
An “unprecedented level of investment” has been committed to boost consumer engagement, according to the company. For example, it will introduce a “direct discount virtual venue” that offers a 15 per cent price reduction in addition to the usual coupons that can be used across different stores.
Taobao Live, the e-commerce unit’s live-streaming platform, is handing out 1 billion yuan (US$136.6 million) worth of cash coupons from October 12 to 23.
The strategies came after remarks by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in an informal meeting in May, where he urged the company’s e-commerce executives to refocus on Taobao and consumers to survive brutal competition and adapt to China’s new economic reality.
This year’s Singles’ Day festival is also the first since Alibaba initiated its largest ever corporate restructuring, which was announced in March. Under the plan, the tech giant was split into six independently run entities, each free to pursue their own fundraising. However, Taobao and Tmall Group was the only core business that remained exclusively owned by Alibaba.
For JD.com, this year’s Singles’ Day event is the first since founder and chairman Richard Liu Qiangdong’s urged the company to get back to the basics of “low prices and quality service”.Known for its premium service and fast delivery facilitated by an in-house inventory model similar to Amazon, JD.com has opened up to smaller merchants who bring a wider range of cheaper products for penny-pinching consumers, the Post reported earlier.
The firm said vendors taking part in this year’s shopping festival have increased 1.5 times compared to last year, without offering an exact number.
Taobao and Tmall Group said it has seen a “record high” number of participating products, brands and merchants for the sales season this year, with around 46,000 global brands and merchants offering imported products and over 1 million brands and merchants confirming their digital marketing plans for the event.
Despite the low price and service strategies, this year will be challenging for Alibaba and JD.com, partly because of competition from the likes of ByteDance-owned Douyin and Pinduoduo, but also owing to factors such as China’s weak economic recovery, according to Li Chengdong, founder and chief analyst at Beijing-based e-commerce consultancy Dolphin.
“[E-commerce platforms] are under a lot of pressure from the rise of Pinduoduo and Douyin. This year’s price war will establish a low-price mindset [among consumers],” Li said. (Source: scmp.com)
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