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Zoom in on 618, what’s new this year?

2018-07-03 8 minute read China

JD.com 618 anniversary celebration, June 18 (JD.com)


  • New technologies
  • Delivery records broken
  • Unbounded retail
  • Google joins the party

This year’s 618 (June 18) event saw many interesting developments, we are taking a brief look at 7 that are likely to influence future major shopping events for years to come.

This year’s June 18 has long surpassed being just a celebration of JD.com’s birthday. It’s now a very important cross-board shopping festival in the first half of the year of Chinese e-commerce calendar. The focus of this year’s 6.18 event is “New Retail” and “Unbounded Retail”.

Here we highlight the key developments and innovations from this year’s 6.18.

1. Experience before you pay

Tmall (Alibaba Group) launched the “experience before you pay” model promotion and revolutionised the smart phone industry.

On June 13, Tmall Mobile launched a brand-new purchase model with sesame credit. Sesame credit is the personal credit rating of Alipay users that is calculated using data sourced their use of Alibaba services by one of Alibaba group’s companies. Customers who have 750 points of sesame credit or more are entitled to test a new mobile phone for up to 30 days. They pay only when they confirm they’re satisfied.

Meitu, a Chinese mobile phone brand’s new T9 became the first applicable model to launch on Tmall mobile, prior to its grand launch scheduled on 27th June. Samsung, Huawei, Vivo, Apple, and many more big brands are already in discussion with Tmall to participant.

2. Live insights

Vendors and businesses were able to accurately prepare for 618 via insights gained through Tmalls’ pre-sales event.

Before the main 618 event, Tmall pre-sale that has taken place between 25 to 31 May already generated a very healthy forecast sales.

  • automotive and motorcycle parts
  • sports & outdoors
  • clothing, shoes and bags
  • baby & mum’s care
  • small electronics
  • skin care & personal care
  • home & furniture
  • health food and supplements
  • and household cleaning

The popular categories included:

3. New technology

New technologies were introduced for faster, more efficient delivery.

Drone deliveries were already introduced in normal services last year. 20,000 UAV deliveries have been dispatched, with the total drone flight milage exceeding 100,000 kilometres.

JD’s JDY-800 drone was also officially unveiled during the 618-day period. It has a range of 1,000 kilometres, and a maximum take-off weight of 840 kg.

During 618, JD Logistics unveiled the world-class standard for unmanned warehouses for the first time. A truly “unmanned operation” of the entire process from storage, packing, sorting, and delivery; granting “digitised operations” in order to “make intelligent decisions”.

4. Unbounded retail

JD sought to further O2O collaboration through “Unbounded Retail” model.

Since the “New retail” concept was introduced by Jacky Ma last year, it has evolved to become even more connected with both online and offline retail channels.

618 shopping festival has entered the eighth year, from JD’s birthday celebration and annual promotion, and is now the biggest mid- year promotion. All major e-commerce platforms have launched their versions of 618 and are investing great efforts.

This year in addition to the annual sales promotion, the online and offline (O2O) linkage has become a major highlight of this year’s 618.

JD’s “unbounded retail” was unveiled for the first time this year as a large-scale, cross-brand, cross-channel promotion. Together it created “unbounded shopping carnival”. Tmall and Alibaba Group’s online platforms Tmall, and Taobao, and offline retail stores HeMa also cross-promoted and participated in the 618 shopping festival.

5. Google joins the party

Google announced its plans to invest $550 million in China’s largest online retailer JD.com.

This was revealed on this year’s 618, as part of Google’s strategy to enter the fast growing Chinese online market, and to strive for Asia’s markets.

This alliance gives Google the weight to battle rivals, including Amazon. And as JD can list their products on Google’s shopping service, it allows it to expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia to set their foothold in US and European markets.

JD.com’s investors also include Chinese social media (Wechat) powerhouse Tencent Holdings Ltd, allowing them to create seamless shopping experiences on the JD platform and peer-to-peer sharing & recommendations via social media.

6. Delivery time record broken

Kaola, the fastest growing and biggest cross-border e-commerce platform in China, broke records for fastest delivery time.

It accounted for 26% market share in 2018 Q1.

The first order on 618 was made by a user from Ningbo at 00:11am, and the parcel was delivered at 1:27am, taking only 1 hour and 16 minutes. This is a new breaking record for the cross-border e-commerce shopping experience. Kaola invests heavily on bonded warehousing, works closely with Customs, and streamlines the packing and delivery process. As a result, the purchase of foreign products is no longer a waiting game but a truly advanced shopping experience.

7. VIP 6.16

At 10pm on June 20, the four-day VIPshop mid-year promotional event “6.16” concluded.

Data from the platform shows the total order volume on VIP.com was nearly 10 million RMB. Categories, including clothing, accessories, cosmetics and skin care, had strong and steady growth. Clothing sales, in particular, increased by 90% compared to last year.

The post-90s generation has shown strong shopping powers this year. They are mainly female users from 1st and 2nd tier cities, the key categories being baby & mum, cosmetics, and less well-known foreign brands. VIP.com worked with Douyin App to launch 100 small video clips to promote more than 100+ new, different and innovative brands & special products appealing to what young people would like the most.

The conversion rate exceeded 20%, with 30% of users sharing the lists within their own friends networks.