Smartphone brands break records in first hours of Singles’ Day shopping festival

Li Tao

Defying an overall sales decline in the world’s largest smartphone market, Chinese handset vendors have taken advantage of the frenzy surrounding the world’s biggest online sales festival to boost sales as local consumers unlock their spending to take advantage of the low prices.

All major Chinese smartphone brands reported stellar sales figures in the first hours of this year’s November 11 Singles’ Day shopping spree.

Huawei Technologies, China’s largest smartphone brand, said sales on its self-run Huawei online mall took only 1 minute to exceed the full day November 11 sales recorded last year, while its budget brand Honor was the No 1 seller on all three major e-commerce platforms, Tmall, JD.com and Suning.com, in the first two hours.

Vivo said sales on its own platform were 3.75 times more in the first two hours this year compared to last year while sister brand Oppo said sales in the first minute outstripped what it sold on its website in a full day last year.

Xiaomi, China’s fourth largest smartphone vendor, said sales on its official Tmall store broke the 1 billion yuan (US$143 million) mark after one hour, and were up 22 per cent over the same hourly period last year.

Huawei brushes off US ban to outsell local rivals, Apple in Chinese market

Tmall is a business-to-consumer marketplace operated by Alibaba, parent company of the South China Morning Post.

Apple, the only non-Chinese brand in the top five smartphone sales charts in China, saw sales in the first 10-minutes on Tmall equal to seven-times its whole-day sales last year, after the US technology giant offered generous price cuts on its popular products, including the new iPhone 11, at this year’s shopping event.

Chinese consumers collectively spent US$26.63 billion in the first 12 hours of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza, scooping up everything from consumer electronics to luxury items and even cars.

The sales figures selectively announced by each smartphone brand only represents a portion of their total for the shopping festival. Besides Alibaba’s Tmall and the brands’ own platforms, rival sites such as JD.com, Suning.com and Pinduoduo are running their own Singles’ Day campaigns.

Huawei further extended its dominance in the domestic market in the third-quarter of this year, eroding the market share of all other competitors amid an ongoing US technology ban which has seen Chinese consumers rally behind the brand. Huawei’s shipments in the latest quarter were equal to the combined shipments of the three other major Chinese brands Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, and eight times that of Apple’s 5.1 million iPhone quarterly sales in China, according to a Canalys report published in late October.

In teaming up with each e-commerce platform, the smartphone brands have introduced various incentives, including direct price cuts, cash rebates and subsidies. Consumers can also participate in interactive games on the online shopping platforms to earn bigger discounts and cash allowances to use when shopping this year.

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