6.18 festival sees record number of merchants, says Alibaba, without releasing sales data

Taobao Live streaming sessions
Taobao Live rolls out streaming sessions. Photo Credit: Taobao & Tmall Group.

Alibaba Group’s Taobao & Tmall Business Group said a record number of merchants participated in China’s second-largest shopping festival 6.18 via its online marketplaces. The festival took place between May 26 and June 20.

However, Alibaba and rival JD.com have not published total sales figures from the 6.18 festivals, which has led some analysts to question how successful the festival has been. The 6.18 festival has been closely watched by analysts for signs that Chinese consumers once again want to spend following the Covid pandemic.

Alibaba however, said that after midnight on June 18, 305 brands made over Rmb100m ($14m). The gross merchandise value (GMV) of more than 2.56 million small-and medium-sized companies (SMEs) was higher than last year’s festival, according to the company. In addition, 1.18 million SMEs saw GMV of Rmb10,000 each ($1,403).

In terms of content, the daily average number of people watching short videos on the consumer-to-consumer marketplace Taobao during the festival rose 113% compared to 2022. The number of influencers and Taobao merchants releasing short videos every day also increased 200% year-over-year and 55% year-over-year respectively.

Additionally, the number of content creators who began livestreaming on Taobao during the festival increased by 139% year-over-year. Consumers’ viewing time on the app also doubled. Finally, the number of times people watched live broadcasts rose two to three-fold year-over-year.