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Online Shopping Festivals in Southeast Asia

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More customers partake in November’s e-commerce fests as Singles’ Day becomes a hit in the region.

November serves as an exciting shopping month for consumers in Southeast Asia, lined up with consecutive shopping festivals like Singles’ Day (11.11), Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Despite these concepts being borrowed from abroad, these shopping events are either making their way through Southeast Asian countries as is or are being adapted to local shopping bonanzas by regional and domestic players.

Singles’ Day has been gaining popularity because what once started out to celebrate single people in China has now evolved into an intense shopping opportunity. Generally, these events are seeing growing customer awareness in the region and are expected to continue doing so due to the various innovative strategies that retailers deploy and an equal rise in enthusiasm seen among consumers.

Offering discounts alone does not suffice, players use extended sales tactics

Over the years, the focus of retailers has shifted from merely offering up to 90% discount on products. Other strategies, like extending their sales period to before and after the events to give customers more shopping time, extending their operating hours, providing priority passes to early shoppers to skip queues and installing more cashier counters and dressing rooms in anticipation of a spike in traffic are the most common.

In Singapore for instance, online marketplace Qoo10 provides extended parcel-collection options through 7-Eleven convenience stores and federated lockers that allow consumers to pick up their orders during their commute. In Indonesia, since consumers do not celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday has been adapted to the local market and called Festival Belanja Online (Online Shopping Festival), wherein instead of the event being restricted to the singular fourth Friday of November, it is a week-long spree of shopping events.

Regional e-commerce giants gamify customers’ shopping experience during these shopping festivals

E-commerce players across the region have developed gamification mechanics to engage customers and generate hype around shopping events. Online shopping platform, Shopee, gamifies the shopping experience through Shopee Shake, running daily deals in the lead up to 11.11 across the region. To play Shopee Shake, customers enter via the Shopee mobile app and shake their phones at the designated time to win discounts. Shopee Shake recorded 2.5 million plays during 2018’s Single’s Day event in Thailand. Shopee Quiz is another interactive live trivia game that enhances the shopping experience, where customers get to answer questions from social influencers and win Shopee Coins and selected products.

To lure customers to its platform, Lazada competes with Shopee through its own element of fun. For example, the Moji-Go game makes users match their facial expressions with the on-screen emojis to earn vouchers. In the 10 days leading up to this year’s Single’s Day, Lazada is set to pilot daily Group Missions for users to enjoy and redeem vouchers in groups. Qoo10 also introduces games leading up to Singles’ Day like the lucky claw machine game, and while this feature has not been a top priority till now, it is likely to see huge ramping up amidst the e-tailer battle of maximising engagement with users in the region.

Fashion and electronics are the most popular online purchases in Southeast Asia

Consumer electronics and fashion and beauty are the top product categories that Southeast Asian consumers spent on during 2018 shopping festivals. Singaporeans indulged in interior design, luxury and fashion purchases last year. Particularly, Lazada’s bestsellers in Singapore during the Singles’ Day event were the Logitech Mouse, Nintendo Switch and Xiaomi’s Mi Robot Vacuum.

On the other hand, Indonesians stuck to more traditionally common online purchases, like apparel and electronics. These products are increasingly bought online in Indonesia not only during shopping festivals but year-round due to on-going sales promotions. E-commerce players like Shopee have introduced thematic sales with a dedicated sales day for each product category. These initiatives, coupled with Southeast Asia’s rising middle class, are expected to drive e-commerce sales to record-breaking levels this November.

Our report "Seasonality and Shopping Holidays: A Global Overview" has further insights into other shopping holidays around the world. To learn more, click here.

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