SEA brands reap benefits of 618 sales as Alibaba sees 43% jump in imported goods sold

Adidas, ANTA, Apple, Estée Lauder, Haier, Huawei, La Mer, Lenovo, L'Oréal, Nike, Shiseido, The History of Whoo and Xiaomi were among top international brands that surpassed about US$14 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) during Alibaba's 618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival.

According to Alibaba, imported products were also on high demand. About 25,000 overseas brands, including those from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, participated in the campaign through Tmall Global. The GMV of imported products sold on Tmall Global increased by 43% from last year. 

For Southeast Asian brands in particular, the first day of the festival saw strong demand for IRVINS' products in Singapore, with the brand selling more than a thousand packets of snacks. According to data from Alibaba, customer-favourites such as fish skin and potato chips sold "several times more than the normal level". As a result, IRVINS generated sales that was 800% more than its usual volume. In Malaysia, homegrown brand Fipper achieved sales six times that of its average 20-day period in May, while Old Town White Coffee's sales jumped by 130% year-on-year. Manufacturer Swift also saw a five-fold increase in traffic.

Alibaba said that Fipper, in particular, witnessed over 4,000 pairs of sandals and slippers being snapped up by Chinese consumers in five minutes, following a sales push hosted by one of China's popular live-streaming queens named Cherie. Within seven days of the start of the festival, Fipper doubled its sales for the month of May. Meanwhile during the 618 campaign, the top three categories among Malaysian consumers on Taobao Malaysia were home and living, fashion and accessories and consumer electronics.

Meanwhile, Ellips, a hair care brand of Indonesia's Kino Group, saw total sales on Tmall Global grow almost three times that of the 20-day period in 2019. It also witnessed a four-time jump in new buyers, as traffic to its Tmall Global flagship store grew four times year-on-year. Chinese shoppers snapped up more than 10,000 cans of its signature vitamin hair care essential oils.

Harry Sanusi, president director of Kino Indonesia, said the current pandemic pushed it to continue innovating and leveraging digital platforms to look for opportunities and reach the international market despite travel restrictions. "Our 618 campaign results is an exciting sign of China’s consumption rebound, and our ability to meet the Chinese consumers’ needs on hair care products through Tmall Global,” he said.

On the global front, cosmetic products and food in the FMCG category surpassed about US$14 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) within the first minute of 16 June. The mother-and-baby sector achieved about US$14 million in GMV in one and a half minutes, while the personal care sector did the same in three minutes. Healthcare products drew strong interest from consumers this year. According to data from Alibaba Health, the number of merchants participating in 618 this year increased by 70% compared to the same period last year. 

In the consumer electronics category, 25 brands saw growth of more than 10 times last year in the first hour of June 16. Meanwhile, 66 apparel brands had sales that rocketed 600% on June 1. In the first hour of June 16, 28 apparel brands also exceeded their full-day sales totals from the last year.

On the app front, Taobao Deals saw a 500% year-on-year growth in orders of manufacturer-to-consumer (products, with more than 200 manufacturers each generating over US$141k in GMV. Alibaba said that gamification deepened customer engagement with over 400 million visits to Tmall’s 618 “Ideal Life Express” game. Sales of 1,700 different agricultural products doubled year-on-year. Apart from pent-up demand, Tmall made its 3D shopping technology widely available to brands during 618, vastly enhancing the shopping experience. Overall, in just three days, stores using Tmall 3D attracted five million visitors and quintupled the average conversion rates of consumers, Alibaba said.

Alibaba was recently among the top 10 most value global brands, according to a ranking by WPP and Kantar. Alibaba jumped one spot from its ranking this year and witnessed a 16% increase in brand value to US$152.5 billion and Tencent jumped a spot as well with a 15% increase in brand value to US$151 billion.

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