The arrival of the 2022 Fifa World Cup not only has millions of Chinese football fans embracing the month-long football fiesta, but it has also heated up the nation’s evening economy, sparking an e-commerce boom on JD.com’s instant retail platform.
In order to seize the business opportunities of the World Cup, JD.com has zeroed in on its ‘instant delivery’ retail service “Shop Now”. The e-commerce giant has teamed up with supermarkets across the country and extended business hours to launch a special “Night Market” so that fans who stay up late watching games can enjoy speedy deliveries any time they place an order. According to data released by JD.com, nighttime orders on JD.com’s retail platforms accounted for nearly 30% of sales on November 20 and 21, with beverages, snacks, and football-related products being the most popular purchases.
Soccer-related sales also saw a spike ahead of the World Cup’s kick-off on November 21. On J Shop, the company’s omnichannel fashion and lifestyle platform, soccer shoes, balls, and jerseys accounted for 40%, 28%, and 25% of sales respectively. In addition, sales of various national team jerseys tripled year-on-year with more than 40% of Germany and Spain’s jerseys being purchased by female consumers. Moreover, World Cup-related decorations surged 80% year-on-year, while wine sets increased by over 30% year-on-year.
Apart from food and football-related products, purchases of electronics skyrocketed as fans sought to enhance their game-watching experiences at home. On the first day of the international football tournament, the online transaction volume of projectors and VR glasses increased by 240% and 430% respectively. Meanwhile, in the past week, JD.com’s offline store has seen the sales of TV sets measuring over 80 inches rise 50%.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns, the concept of instant retail has quickly gained momentum in China and has even become a popular business model for e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and Tencent, who have launched their own instant retail services Hema and Meituan respectively. In fact, the market is expected to reach 900 billion RMB (139 billion USD) by the end of 2024.
By tapping into the World Cup festivities, therefore, JD.com aims to expand its instant retail services and increase its market share in a sector currently dominated by rivals Alibaba and Tencent.