Why China’s 618 shopping festival is losing its shine

For this year’s 618, Bottega Veneta released the Salon 03 collection, which features pops of color such as the green Arco tote and pink open-toe sandals. Eden, a young white-collar worker living in Shanghai, tells Vogue Business that she likes to wear black, white and gray, but after the latest lockdown lifted, to celebrate, she wore a bright yellow summer dress and a green Bottega Veneta Jodie handbag.

Camping’s post-Covid renaissance

Chinese holiday the Dragon Boat Festival took place this year on 3 June, and camping, “glamping” and picnics became new tourism hotspots for cultural, boosted further by the popularity of reality TV show Let’s Camp Together. Tents, dining tables and chairs, camping equipment and lightweight outdoor clothing were trending online during 618, alongside “gorpcore” — utilitarian, functional, outdoors-inspired gear that is typically worn in urban environments. Sportswear brand Kolon Sport, for example, focused its 618 campaign on sun protection clothing, functional T-shirts and accessories, and camping equipment.

Success in sustainability

Sustainability is becoming a common concern for brands and young consumer groups in China. According to the China Sustainability Basics Report released by Kantar Consulting in May this year, 80 per cent of Chinese consumers said that purchasing sustainable products was a display of their personal environmental protection values; 50 per cent said they wanted to promote sustainable development. In response, brands focused on natural and organic ingredients, “healthy” formulas, and recyclable/reusable/refillable products during 618 this year. JD.com says consumers purchased more than 42 million green and low-carbon products during the shopping event. British brand Mulberry, which plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, launched its first “carbon neutral” collection during 618. The collection comprises 12 bags made by Scottish leather producer Muirhead, which converts end-of-life leather into fuel for its thermal energy plant.

Sustainable skincare also became a hot consumer trend during 618. According to JD.com, products with organic, natural and healthy ingredients were sought after in the imported beauty and personal care categories. LVMH-owned skincare brand Cha Ling, for example, launched a new “pure” skincare series made from natural ingredients and undertook initiatives such as tree planting and gifting seedboxes.

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