Shopping malls in China have remained quiet despite the easing of restrictions that were imposed to combat COVID-19, but encouragingly the country has been making up some of the shortfall with booming trade on e-commerce platforms.

This has been most notable during’s 618 mid-year shopping festival, which runs each year between June 1st and June 18th and, alongside Alibaba’s Singles’ Day event in November, is viewed as a barometer of consumer sentiment in the world’s second-largest economy.

According to the South China Morning Post, the latest figures reveal that has already secured 293.3bn yuan (US$33.8bn) of sales during this year’s 618 shopping gala, or more than the total for last year., China’s second-largest e-commerce player, revealed that sales of dry food, alcohol and maternity and children-related products exceeded 100m yuan in the first minute of trading on Thursday, while sales of iPhones and other Apple products surpassed another 100m in just five seconds.

“The FMCG category and fresh produce have experienced continuous growth from the beginning of the pandemic until today,” reported Xu Lei, chief executive of JD Retail, in a trading update yesterday.

Meanwhile, it’s also good news for Alibaba whose Tmall marketplace saw transactions rise 100% year on year in the first hour of business on Thursday.

“Online consumption has seen a post-pandemic revival since March and the sales rebound that we have observed on Taobao and Tmall has been very encouraging,” said Liu Bo, vice-president of Alibaba Group Holding.

According to official data released earlier this week, overall retail sales of consumer goods in China declined 2.8% in May compared with the same month in 2019, yet online sales increased 22%, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

And in a further sign of the good health of e-commerce in China, US research firm eMarketer has forecast that Chinese online retail sales will grow 16% this year to $2.09 trillion.

Sourced from South China Morning Post, Nikkei Asian Review; additional content by WARC staff