2024 618 Shopping Festival in China

2024 618 Shopping Festival in China

This year’s 618 shopping festival, China’s mid-year e-commerce extravaganza, marked a historic milestone with its unprecedented duration and transformative strategies. Spanning from May 20th to June 20th, the 2024 event featured a series of innovations designed to enhance the consumer experience and boost sales. Notably, major platforms like Alibaba and JD.com abandoned pre-sales in favor of direct sales, simplifying the shopping process and offering immediate access to discounted items. This shift, combined with aggressive discounting and the integration of advanced technologies like AI, underscored the competitive nature of this year’s festival. We will look at the highlights and trends of the 2024 618 Festival and examine how the different platforms performed, which product categories stood out and what business and consumer trends shaped this landmark event.

Source: groupm nexus

Overview of the 2024 618 Promotion

Spanning from May 20th to June 20th, the 2024 618 shopping festival was the longest in history. This extended timeline provided consumers with more opportunities to shop and take advantage of deals over a longer period. The festival was divided into several phases, including formal sale, peak period, and post-sale, offering a structured and continuous shopping experience.

One of the most significant changes this year was the cancellation of pre-sales, a strategy adopted by major platforms like Alibaba and JD.com. For the first time in a decade, these platforms opted for direct sales of in-stock items. This shift simplified the shopping process, eliminating the complexities of pre-ordering and waiting for shipments. Consumers could now purchase items at discounted prices immediately, enhancing their overall shopping experience and satisfaction.

Additionally, the 2024 618 festival heavily emphasized low prices, with platforms employing various strategies to attract consumers. Cross-store discounts, direct price drops, and special offers were prominently featured. JD.com and Pinduoduo, in particular, provided significant subsidies, making it more appealing for consumers to shop during this period. These aggressive pricing strategies aimed to capture the attention of price-sensitive shoppers, ensuring high sales volumes and customer engagement throughout the event. 

eTOC Analysis

Key Trends and Highlights

The 2024 618 shopping festival showcased several key trends and highlights that defined the event’s success and consumer appeal.

Platform-Specific Strategies

  • Tmall: Tmall emphasized branding with the slogan “Good Brands, Good Prices, on Tmall.” This approach paid off, as the platform saw a 100% increase in sales for small merchants on the first day alone. Significant growth in transactions highlighted Tmall’s successful branding and promotional efforts.
  • JD.com: JD.com focused on “Low Price and Good Products,” achieving high sales and engagement through extensive live streaming and AI-driven digital experiences. This strategy not only attracted consumers with low prices but also enhanced their shopping experience through innovative technologies.
  • Pinduoduo: Known for its simplicity, Pinduoduo highlighted straightforward promotional rules and strong subsidies, particularly in electronics and home appliances. This approach made it easier for consumers to understand and participate in the promotions, boosting overall sales.
  • Douyin and Kuaishou: These platforms enhanced the integration of content and e-commerce, leading to significant growth in live streaming sales and short video conversions. Their strategies focused on engaging users through interactive and entertaining content, driving higher engagement and sales.
  • Xiaohongshu: Participating in the 618 event for the first time, Xiaohongshu focused on store broadcasts and influencer marketing. The platform provided strong support for high-quality content and authentic user experiences, appealing to its niche market.
Source: groum nexus
Source: groum nexus
Source: groum nexus

Live Streaming and Content Marketing

Live streaming played a crucial role in the 2024 618 festival. Top platforms created live marketing IPs, and brands increasingly involved their CEOs in live streams to engage directly with consumers. This trend saw a shift towards decentralization, with mid-tier influencers gaining prominence. Platforms like Taobao and JD.com reported significant increases in sales through live streaming, showcasing its effectiveness in driving consumer engagement and transactions.

AI and Smart Marketing

AI-driven marketing strategies were extensively employed during the 618 festival. Platforms used large language models to enhance marketing efficiency, improve ROI, and create personalized consumer experiences. AI was utilized to generate creative content, optimize ad placements, and streamline the overall marketing process. Digital personas and AI hosts in live streams attracted viewers and enhanced the interactive shopping experience, contributing to higher engagement and sales. These advancements in AI and smart marketing underscored the importance of technology in modern e-commerce.

Popular Product Categories

The 2024 618 shopping festival saw various platforms excelling in specific product categories, highlighting consumer preferences and strategic focuses.


Tmall and JD.com: These platforms continued to dominate in categories like beauty products, home appliances, and health supplements. Tmall, in particular, saw significant sales in beauty products, driven by heavy discounts and targeted promotions. Home appliances also performed well, with JD.com leveraging its reputation for reliable delivery and quality assurance. Health supplements were another top category, reflecting a growing consumer interest in wellness and preventative healthcare.


Douyin and Kuaishou: Both platforms made notable strides in promoting outdoor equipment, pet products, and consumer electronics. The increasing popularity of outdoor activities spurred sales of related equipment on these platforms. Pet products saw a surge in demand as more consumers invested in the wellbeing of their pets. Additionally, consumer electronics remained a hot category, with both platforms offering competitive prices and leveraging their content-driven strategies to engage users and boost sales.


Xiaohongshu: Xiaohongshu focused on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products. Known for its community-driven approach, the platform emphasized high-quality content and influencer marketing to drive sales. This strategy paid off, with significant traction in premium and niche markets, particularly in beauty and fashion categories.

Source: groum nexus

Economic and Consumer Trends

Taking place against the backdrop of stable economic growth in China, the 2024 618 shopping festival was influenced by several key trends that shaped consumer behavior and platform performance.

Stable Economic Growth: Despite global economic uncertainties, China’s economy demonstrated stability, with a noticeable upward trend in online retail sales. Consumer confidence gradually recovered, bolstered by the government’s economic policies and a resilient domestic market. This stability provided a favorable environment for the 618 festival, encouraging consumer spending.

Mobile Internet Usage: While the growth rate of mobile internet users plateaued, the duration and frequency of usage on content platforms remained high. This high engagement was particularly evident during the 618 festival, as consumers spent more time on platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou, and Xiaohongshu, participating in interactive content and live streaming events. This trend underscored the importance of mobile platforms in driving e-commerce sales.

Consumer Behavior: There was a marked increase in the use of instant e-commerce services, reflecting consumers’ preference for quick delivery and real-time engagement. Platforms offering instant retail services, such as Meituan and JD Minute, reported significant boosts in order volumes. Additionally, consumers showed a strong preference for platforms that integrated live streaming and interactive content, driving higher engagement and conversion rates.

Other Noteworthy Insights

Overall Sales Data: The total sales across all e-commerce platforms during the 618 period reached 742.8 billion RMB, marking a 7% year-over-year decline. Despite this overall drop, live streaming e-commerce platforms saw significant growth, with sales increasing by 12.1%. Douyin led the sales charts in this category, showcasing the growing influence of live streaming in driving consumer purchases.

Rising Categories and Breakthrough Brands: Health and outdoor activities continued to be major trends, with significant growth in related categories. Brands offering products in these areas experienced notable increases in GMV (Gross Merchandise Value). Additionally, new and traditional domestic brands emerged as strong performers. Brands like 活力28 and YANGZI entered the top 10 in their respective categories, driven by effective influencer marketing and competitive pricing.

Reduced Dependence on Influencers: Mature brands on various platforms showed a reduced reliance on top-tier influencers, instead increasing their self-broadcasting efforts. This shift allowed brands to maintain control over their messaging and reduce marketing costs. However, some new brands, particularly in categories like coffee/oatmeal and instant drinks, still heavily depended on influencers for sales, highlighting the continued importance of influencer marketing for certain products.

Category-Specific Observations: Stability was observed in categories such as sports apparel and beauty skincare, with less than 20% new brands entering the top 10. This indicates strong brand loyalty and consistent consumer demand. In contrast, categories like snacks, health supplements, and women’s clothing saw significant changes, with over half of the top 10 brands being new entrants. This dynamic shift suggests a rapidly evolving market with opportunities for new players.

Performance of Top Brands: Some brands managed to maintain their top positions in various categories. For instance, Three Squirrels (三只松鼠) remained the top brand in snacks/nuts/specialties, and Nike (耐克) continued to lead in sports apparel/footwear. Other notable performers included Moutai (茅台) in the alcohol category, Florasis (花西子) in cosmetics/perfume/beauty tools, and Apple (苹果) in mobile phones.


Overall, the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of China’s e-commerce landscape was vividly demonstrated during the 2024 618 shopping festival. Despite a slight decline in overall sales, strategic innovations played a pivotal role in driving consumer engagement and satisfaction. Key trends such as the extended promotional period, the shift away from pre-sales, and the emphasis on low prices shaped the festival’s success. Additionally, the growing influence of live streaming, the integration of AI in marketing, and the rise of new and traditional domestic brands showcased the diverse strategies that platforms employed to capture consumer interest. With China’s economy remaining stable and consumer confidence continuing to recover, the insights gleaned from the 2024 618 festival provide valuable lessons for future e-commerce strategies. By focusing on user experience, leveraging cutting-edge technology, and adapting to consumer preferences, platforms and brands can navigate the competitive landscape and achieve sustained success in upcoming shopping festivals.

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