China's major appliance retailers have launched an online price war in a battle for market share as sales of household white goods and electronics products are blasted by what may be the country's slowest year of economic growth since 1999.
A property sector slowdown is a particular problem for retailers including GOME, as stalling new home sales eat into demand for new washing machines and stereo systems.
Online seller 360buy.com, also known as Jingdong Mall, took aim this week at brick-and-mortar appliances giant Suning by announcing competitive price cuts on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Cut-throat online offers courting China's bargain-conscious shoppers have pressured margins, especially in the wealthiest cities, for companies like Suning which offer a nearly identical line-up of appliance and electronics brands.
"If people are holding off buying a home, that could affect sales in certain sectors ," said Ben Cavender, a consumer goods analyst at China Market Research Group in Shanghai.
Some potential home buyers are postponing purchases in the expectation that the government will loosen real estate restrictions.