Amazon.com Inc. has previously introduced U.S. retail sale events like Black Friday to China, and this year it did the same with its annual online shopping festival Prime Day. Amazon says total sales on Prime Day exceeded those of Black Friday, with many Chinese shoppers purchasing imported products from Amazon’s sites around the world.
Amazon China says its sales on July 11 were nearly three times higher than on the same day a year ago, when Amazon did not have its Prime Day sale in China, and the number of Chinese consumers who signed up for Prime in conjunction with the sale was 60% larger than on Black Friday last November. Amazon began its Prime Day sales at 5 p.m. China time on July 10 and ended it at 3 p.m. on July 12, but only reported results from July 11.
Prime Day sales included items on the Haiwaigou section of Amazon China that feature imported goods from Amazon sites around the world that are brought into China under relaxed cross-border rules governing consumers’ personal purchases from foreign websites. Amazon launched Prime in China in 2016 and promises free delivery of Haiwaigou orders above 200 yuan ($29) to Prime members, as well as free shipping on all domestic orders. Consumers in China pay 388 yuan ($59) per year to join Prime.
Best-selling products on Prime Day in China included books, cosmetics and baby products. Amazon says its own Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader was the most popular consumer electronics product. Other popular products included a Philips electric toothbrush, Merries diapers from Japan, Fisher-Price toys and Perrier mineral water.
In the Haiwaigou cross-border e-commerce section of Amazon.cn, Amazon says best-selling products include U.S. Comotomo baby bottles, New Era headwear and Japan’s Barrier Repair skin care mask.
Amazon China guarantees consumers in 82 Chinese cities will receive orders of overseas products in five to nine days.
Launched in 2014, Haiwaigou is a section on Amazon.cn where Chinese consumers can buy more than 10 million overseas items from Amazon’s global sites, with product descriptions shown in Chinese. Amazon’s Haiwaigou competes for the business of Chinese online shoppers seeking foreign goods with the Tmall Global marketplace operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the JD Worldwide portal operated by JD.com Inc.
Amazon China is No. 4 in the Internet Retailer China 500 and JD.com is No. 1. Alibaba, although it accounts for well over half of online retail purchases in China, is not ranked because it is not the merchant of record for sales on its massive Taobao and Tmall web marketplaces.
Besides focusing on selling overseas products into China, Amazon also is putting more effort into helping Chinese companies, especially manufacturers of high-tech gear, grow their international online sales. Amazon says several China-based sellers, including wireless audio brand Bluedio and robotic vacuum brand ECOVACS, increased their sales on Amazon.com in the U.S. by more than 80% on July 11, Prime Day in the U.S., over Prime Day a year ago.