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Double 11's Modest Impact: A Step Towards Rational Spending and Economic Revival

By ZHAN CHEN|Nov 19,2023

Chongqing - The Double 11 shopping event of this year has concluded with a rather subdued response from the market. Major e-commerce platforms, breaking tradition, have not disclosed specific sales figures, indicating a lukewarm market reaction.

In a recent interview with Bridging News, Kang Zhuang, Director of the Finance Institute at the Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences, noted a decrease in consumer spending. He attributed this decline to the current economic downturn, varying levels of disposable income, and other influencing factors.

Kang Zhuang, Director of the Finance Institute at the Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences. (Photo/Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences)

Shift toward rational consumer spending 

The Double 11 festival, initiated 15 years ago by Alibaba, has seen a significant shift since 2022, with platforms no longer publishing exact sales data.

Syntun, a leading domestic data analytics firm, reported that the total online sales from major e-commerce platforms during the event amounted to 277.6 billion yuan (about 38.3 billion USD), marking a 9.75% decrease from the previous year.

Despite this downturn, Kang asserts that such e-commerce events still play a vital role in economic recovery. He explains that these festivals create a dynamic platform for seller-buyer interactions, fostering market opportunities and bolstering consumer confidence, particularly amidst sluggish spending.

Recent studies by Bain and AlixPartners consulting firms show a trend of consumers leaning towards rational spending, focusing on affordability, a point emphasized by major e-commerce platforms.

Kang views this shift towards rational consumption as beneficial, defining it as the efficient use of purchasing power to maximize satisfaction in buying and using goods and services. He clarifies that rational consumption doesn't imply always opting for the lowest prices but rather seeking a balance between price and quality.

"Competitive pricing is integral to the marketplace," Kang elaborates. "However, the pursuit of low costs should not compromise quality and quantity."

He also highlights the role of public policy in ensuring consumer protection against unfair competition and the proliferation of inferior products.

58% of the total purchases credited to young consumers

Chongqing, Southwest China, ranked seventh in transaction volume nationwide during this year's Double 11 event. This success is largely attributed to young consumers, who accounted for 58% of total purchases, as per JD.com, a leading Chinese retailer.

In the realm of cross-border e-commerce, the Chongqing Customs District processed over 2.1 million orders under the online shopping bonded import model from October 23 to November 12, with the value of exported goods nearing 900 million yuan.

Kang credits these remarkable figures to Chongqing's strategy to establish an international consumption center. This initiative has significantly improved the local consumption environment, supply capabilities, and buyer expertise.

Staff organized the packages purchased on Double 11 at a delivery point. (Photo/Chen Zhan)

He also points out the various factors influencing market consumption, including household disposable income, goods and services availability, and consumer demand.

Kang emphasizes that Chongqing's high ranking signifies its growing purchasing power, indicating a positive economic rebound and an enticing consumption environment. "Consumers in Chongqing are increasingly expecting stable or rising disposable income in the future," he concludes.


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