· Pinduoduo (PDD) makes it to Retail Top 20 list for first time
· Retail competition in China intensifying with the rise of PDD, BrandZ study finds
Pinduoduo is more adventurous, more playful and more fun than its legacy e-commerce peers.
The pioneer in interactive e-commerce scored higher in each of the three brand personality characteristics than the average rating for online peers, including Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2020 report.
PDD was also one of two newcomers this year on the Retail Top 20 list, the other being Sam’s Club.
PDD’s entry into the top retailers list underscores how competition has intensified in China for Alibaba and JD.com as PDD “added more upscale brands that appeal to a wider audience also attracted by the site’s group-buying discounts and gamification of shopping,” the report noted.
As of March, PDD had 628.1 million annual active buyers despite being less than five years old. The market capitalization of the Nasdaq-listed social commerce company crossed $100 billion in June.
Started in 2015 by ex-Googler Colin Huang, PDD set out to unleash the potential of the mobile internet and bring more value and more fun to consumers. The company created communities of shoppers via its team purchase model, drove engagement through fun, interactive games and rewards, and offered personalized experiences through recommendations. That has distinguished PDD from its legacy e-commerce competitors that have a “search, pay and leave” business model, a holdover from the desktop era when people were limited in their access to the internet.
“In our view, Pinduoduo’s rapid success in social commerce will be replicated by others globally, which will continue to drive commerce in social-driven categories online,” wrote Anu Hariharan and Nic Dardenne in a case study of Pinduoduo for Y Combinator, a provider of seed funding for startups. “And so, to understand the success of Pinduoduo is to understand the future of global e-commerce.”
Besides expanding its consumer base to a wider audience, PDD has also further blurred the line between physical and online shopping with the introduction of its livestreaming service earlier this year. The real-time broadcast allows sellers and buyers to interact despite being physically apart, which came in handy in the first quarter when much of China was told to stay at home to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“Covid-19 has unleashed powerful forces that are changing the way we live, work and play. This has compressed years of behavioral change and accelerated the adoption of online commerce at an unprecedented pace,” said Colin Huang, chairman of Pinduoduo, during the company’s earnings call with analysts in May. “Now more than ever, people are relying on online platforms to meet not just their discretionary needs, but also their critical needs.”