Thursday, July 11, 2024

Taobao Announces Top Ten Products of the Year, Virtual Goods Selected for the First Time

On December 25th, Taobao released its list of top products for the year 2023. The list includes “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, soy-sauce-flavored lattes, Zhuozhou book power-up packs, “Einstein’s Brain”, custom concert light sticks, horse-face skirts, crocs shoes, “Linglong No.1” nuclear power banks, plum sauce, and coenzyme Q10, totaling ten products.

For many years, Taobao has continued the tradition of announcing an annual list of top products. Each year, Taobao unveils a list based on hot search indices and sales trends. After multiple rounds of voting by netizens and evaluations by media experts, the ten most representative best-selling products are officially released.

Among the products selected this year, “Einstein’s Brain” stands out, marking the first time a virtual good has been included in Taobao’s annual top products. This is a type of emotional value service product that has emerged on Taobao in recent years: sellers post a picture of Einstein’s head on the product page, usually priced at a few cents, claiming that purchasing the link will “automatically make one smarter”.

As represented by “Einstein’s Brain”, virtual goods have formed a niche but beautiful “track” on Taobao. According to reports, during exam seasons, “Einstein’s Brain” sees a sales peak on Taobao. Among the nominated “Taobao Top Ten Products of the Year,” in addition to “Einstein’s Brain,” virtual mosquitoes and services to wake up one’s love-struck brain are also virtual goods. “Virtual Mosquitoes” have even become a “star product” on Taobao with annual sales exceeding 100w+, showing the popularity of such novel products.

The popularity of virtual goods reflects the unique consumer preferences of the new generation of young people who actively seek self-adjustment and value emotional healing as a new way to deal with inner setbacks.

Wei Xiang, a researcher and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Finance and Strategy, uses the economic “slack index” to explain this consumption phenomenon: the slack index can simply be seen as the inverse of the inflation rate and unemployment rate. A higher slack index suggests a healthier economy, which in turn influences consumption patterns, including the rise in unconventional products like virtual goods.

As virtual goods gain popularity, the future consumer market may witness the arrival of more innovative and diversified products to meet the growing spiritual and cultural demands of consumers.