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Six emerging online shopping trends revealed by Alibaba’s 6.18 festival

In the wake of this year’s 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival, Alibaba and the 260,000 brands have revealed six emerging online shopping trends among China’s consumers.

Trudy Dai, president of core domestic e-commerce at Alibaba Group, said that nearly 100 products generated sales of more than RMB 100 million during the online festival.

Dai said the evaluation of sales data for the event revealed six trends during the campaign, which presented exciting opportunities for brands and merchants, including camping, health and wellness and leisure lifestyle. 

Trend One: New hobbies embraced by young Chinese consumers, including camping and fishing

  • Fishing is gaining popularity among young Chinese consumers as a new hobby. In the year to June, 3 million consumers born after 1995 purchased fishing equipment on Taobao and Tmall. Sales of fishing equipment increased by nearly 50 per cent year-on-year between May 31 and June 3, which Alibaba describes as “the first shopping window” of the 6.18 event. High-end lure fishing equipment was particularly popular, with the new model Exist LT fishing reels from the Japanese brand Daiwa, priced from US$745, being sold out at the launch. 
  • At the same time, young consumers also favour camping, an activity complementary to lure fishing. Sales of camping-related products tripled year-over-year on Tmall, with shoppers buying complete sets of equipment, including tents, canopies, folding tables, folding chairs, moisture-proof mats, and camping carts.

Trend Two: From niche to trendy, skateboarding shows high growth potential

  • During the first shopping window of this year’s 6.18 check-out period, sales in the skateboard category on Tmall increased by 290 per cent year on year.  Demand for imported skateboards also increased.

Trend Three: Men’s personal care products sales are increasing

  • Sunscreen and skin care products are no longer just for women. During the first shopping window of the 6.18 campaign on Tmall, sales in the male grooming and shaving category surged by more than 20 times the volume of last year’s event. In addition, men’s special styling, primer and foundation products are also favoured by consumers.
  • The supply and sales of men’s UV protection clothing increased significantly, with transactions up by 50 per cent.  

Trend Four: Growing demand for pet smart devices and pet clothing

  • Sales of smart devices for pets increased by nearly 150 per cent. Among the most popular items were smart companion robots, automatic feeders and smart cat litter boxes. Sales of pet smart toys increased nearly 130-fold, and sales of outdoor pet toys by 40 per cent.
  • Pet clothing has also been popular among consumers. During the first check-out window of the 6.18 campaign, sales of trendy pet strollers increased by 80 per cent, and search volume for cat and dog summer clothing increased by nearly 40 per cent. Searches for pet helmets were up more than three-fold.

Trend Five: Cross-category and cross-scenario consumption 

  • Diversifying consumer demand is creating more cross-category and cross-scenario consumer products, unlocking the new growth engine for merchants, says Dai. The Tmall Innovation Center (TMIC) and various merchants cooperated to create a number of cross-category and cross-scenario products, which were put into the market during the 6.18 campaign. 
  • Collaborating with TMIC, Breo tapped into the growing consumer demand for eye protection devices. Breo hopes its products can protect the skin around the eyes in addition to having an eye-protecting function.

Trend Six: New luxury products boom on Tmall Luxury Pavilion 

  • This year, more than 200 luxury companies and brands including LVMH, Kering, Chanel, Hermes and Richemont participated in the 6.18 Mid-Year Campaign, collectively launching more than 20,000 new products. More than 300 new products were sold on the first day of the pre-sale. Italian label Max Mara participated in the 6.18 event for the first time, recording sales of more than $150,000 during the first two minutes. Prada’s first-hour sales were up at a rate well over three figures compared to the first-hour sales from last year.
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