618 refers to the date June 18 (6 in Chinese means June) and signals the largest mid-year shopping festival in China.
618 Shopping Festival usually starts in late May with presales campaigns and the promotion starts in early June until late June.
All major e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao, Tmall, JD, Pinduoduo, etc., and retailers launch their own campaigns. It’s one of the two periods they expect huge sales.
618 Shopping Festival has expanded beyond mainland China to overseas markets in recent years. Companies like Alibaba launch 618 campaign with their local e-commerce marketplace such as Lazada to promote mid-year online shopping.
Continue reading below for historical 618 statistics, trends, and sales data.
618 campaign in China was initially launched by Jingdong for its anniversary in 2010. Every June is the anniversary month of JD; and, the promotion and discount reach a peak on 18 June.
In 2004, JD was moved online. June 18, 2004 is now considered JD’s first 618 promotion.
JD.com for the first time promoted 618 as a marketing concept on a large scale basis in 2009 and it saw an inspiring sales result: sales on June 18th surpassed RMB 30 million yuan, and the number of orders was over 45,000. In the same year, Alibaba kicked off its first Single’s Day (also known as Double Eleven or Double 11) sales promotion on November 11th with 27 participating brands.
Alibaba’s Taobao soon launched its own “Taobao 618” campaign and it’s now one of the top shopping festivals in China.
In 2011, JD extended the 618 promotion from a one-day event to a whole month celebration.
In response to the “Double 11” trademark ban by Alibaba, JD openly allows the industry to use the 618 trademarks in sales and promotions.
Chinese shoppers see different branding and creatives for 618 shopping festivals depending on which platform they’re on. As the two platforms are integrated, it’s not that different between Taobao 618 and Tmall 618.
As Tmall hosts brand products and has a higher requirement for companies to launch a store, Alibaba utilizes more resources to promote Tmall 618.