Caixin
Jun 19, 2021 07:34 PM

New Chinese Brands Sparkle in ‘6.18’ E-Commerce Marketing Event

New domestic startups have pipped legacy foreign and hometown brands in hundreds of categories during this month’s mid-year “6.18” e-commerce marketing event, according to data from a major e-commerce platform.

In total, 459 brands that have been on the market for less than three years won sales in their segments on Tmall.com in the first 15 days of June, according to the e-commerce platform, which is owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The 6.18 promotion centers on June 18 but typically stretches for weeks. Many of this year’s best performers came from domestic startups targeting young Chinese consumers’ evolving tastes — including those which make difficult lives easier.

One category cited by the platform was floor-sweeping robots, where Guangdong-based Narwal Intelligence Technology (Dongguan) Co. Ltd., founded two years ago, beat legacy U.S. firm iRobot Corp. to the top spot.

Ecovacs Robotics Co. Ltd. (603486.SH), a robotic floor and window cleaners maker, topped the sales of floor cleaners which can sweep, mop, and disinfect making them popular during the pandemic.

“We believe domestic brands and foreign brands stand on a relatively equal competition footing because most of the new consumption trends have been guided by domestic culture rather than by foreign cultural input,” said He Peibin, an analyst at Ping An Securities Co. Ltd., in a Wednesday report.

He predicted that emerging industries — particularly cosmetics, medical beauty, new snacks and beverages — will maintain rapid growth.

China’s new youth-focused brands have proven attractive to private equity investors. In April, Yuan Qi Sen Lin (Beijing) Food Technology Group Co. Ltd., a company that produces sugar-free sodas and is wildly popular among teenagers and young adults, announced it had completed a new round of financing that valued the firm at around $6 billion.

This year, Tmall.com did not reveal its overall sales and orders linked to 6.18, which evolved from the June 18 anniversary of Alibaba rival JD.com Inc., but has since ballooned into a cross-platform marketing event. JD.com said its own transaction volume exceeded 305.6 billion yuan ($47.4 billion) from June 1 to 2 p.m. June 18, up 13.5% year-on-year.

The shopping event was a bright spot amid overall weaker consumer spending which has dragged on China’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, retail sales in the country increased 12.4% year-on-year, tracking below the 14% target forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (yingzheguo@caixin.com) and editor Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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