What happened: From August 24 to 30, Alibaba held its seventh Taobao Maker Festival in Guangdong. This year’s theme, future earth, technology-driven and emphasizing interactivity. More than 1,000 visitors had the opportunity to access thousands of products sold on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms, while online viewers participated on the Taobao app with virtual avatars.
Founded in 2016, the seven-day event is dedicated to showcasing Chinese innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the latest consumer trends. “We hope it will become a platform where tens of millions of entrepreneurs can share and learn from each other,” Trudy Daisaid the chairman of Alibaba’s Core Domestic E-commerce during the festival’s opening speech.
The Jing plug: With 1 billion annual active buyers in China, Alibaba offers a window into emerging local consumer trends in the coming years.
In the broader context of the country’s increased growth anxiety levels — as the 996 burnout work culturerising unemployment rate and economic slowdown — wellness and personal care have been identified as strong drivers of future purchases for young spenders. Products that can improve livelihoods, such as sleeping pills, diet foods and anti-stress tools, are gaining momentum in a market currently valued at $1.5 trillion (10.1 trillion RMB).
Another trend spotted was the home economy. Alongside the usual functional furniture and aesthetic objects, we are witnessing the rise of high-tech equipment that can improve time management and quality of life. — think robot vacuums, AI butlers, automatic kitchens — is currently seeing a surge in sales and trending on social media.
Finally, the growing awareness sustainability drives shoppers to make more conscious purchases. Alibaba is embracing the change to cater to this demographic. The Hangzhou giant has launched a carbon registry program, “88 Carbon Account”, on its online marketplaces — encouraging users to consume more sustainably through the promise of unlocking benefits and discounts.
Alibaba is facing growing pressure from rivals JD.com and Pinduoduo as well as social commerce players Xiaohongshu and Douyin. The big offline event, the Maker Festival, is crucial for e-merchants to strengthen their ties with current merchants and entrepreneurs. Only by improving together — market and business — can the conglomerate further consolidate its traffic pool of one billion users.
The Jing Plug reports on major news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the main implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product declines and mergers to heated debates popping up on Chinese social media.