E-commerce retailers’ pre-Aidilfitri haul surges threefold

More Malaysians are purchasing online, particularly via mobile phones apps

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic credit: shopee.com.my

RETAIL spending on e-commerce platforms before Hari Raya saw a threefold increase compared to the total amount that was reported in the previous year’s corresponding period.

Shopee Malaysia marketing lead Marianne Chuo said the numbers had also surpassed the full campaign period’s target earlier than expected.

During the period, Shopee introduced specially curated deals across all segments for its “Raya dengan Shopee” campaign, including various partnerships with big brands such as Honda, Mazda, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Domino’s Pizza and Kenny Rogers Roasters.

Chuo told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that more Malaysians are adopting e-commerce as their main source of purchasing, particularly via mobile phones.

“The Shopee app had recorded 10 million downloads as at May 2018, but a year later, the app was downloaded 20 million times which showed a 100% growth,” she said.

She said another factor for the increase in sales was the greater assortment of product offerings, as well as technology gamification of e-commerce through the introduction of games and entertainment features.

“Features like ‘Shopee Quiz’, ‘Shopee Goyang’ and a live streaming function — ‘Shopee Live’, have helped create a more immersive, interactive and rewarding shopping experience for our customers.

“All these foster long-term engagement with our users, and as a result, we see that users are spending more time on Shopee as they tune in regularly to watch our live streams and play the quiz to get prizes,” Chuo said.

She added that among the best-selling items this Hari Raya season included women’s makeup and accessories.

For instance, influencer Tyra Kamaruzzaman had a successful launch for her BeauTyra brand’s latest lipstick on “Shopee Live”.

Chuo said Tyra’s product sold out minutes after it went on sale, and subsequently recording more than 2000 orders.

Chuo said kitchen appliances also saw a hike in sales leading up to June, as people prepared for their open houses and get-togethers with the family.

“We saw ovens, refrigerators, waffle makers, air fryers, kettles, pots and pans fly off the virtual shelves.

“Smartphones were also fast-selling items, possibly for gifts. Shopee carries a wide range of smartphones, from the entry-level models suitable for younger children and parents of older age with lower Internet usage, to the mid-range specs for teenagers and players’ editions for gamers and ones powered with amazing cameras,” she said.

Another online shopping destination, Lazada Malaysia, chalked a fourfold increase in sales for its fashion category during its “Raya Together-gether” campaign.

Lazada’s Muslimah wear also saw its sales increase three times than the usual amount.

According to a Lazada’s fact sheet that was shared with TMR, groceries sold 12 times more in its daily volume, while mobile and electronics sold for nine times the usual amount. “An interesting fact this time around was our customers bought more cables than power banks. Since power banks usually have multiple ports, people must be charging their phones together at one time,” Lazada said in its response to TMR.

Regionally, Lazada’s in-app games like “Shop-and-Match” saw customers logging in about six times a day to play games, with nine out of 10 players winning vouchers.

Lazada also had “See-NowBuy-Now” fashion shows live streamed in-app, allowing users to add products to the cart as models wore them down the runway.

“These shows featured local labels and designers, drawing over 300,000 views in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand this Hari Raya,” Lazada said.

Meanwhile, Thai online fashion retailer Pomelo Fashion’s newly launched cosmetic line, BEET, also saw an increase in sales.

Pomelo’s assistant VP of buying and merchandising Vorada Hiransomboon, said the company also launched a modestwear collection inspired by Moroccan history, culture and heritage, fusing bohemian essence with contemporary style.

Made for women from all walks of life seeking modest styles with a more covered-up aesthetic in mind, the collection is a curated capsule of elegant styles designed especially for the ongoing festivities.

“The collection is the brand’s modern take on modest wear that combines the right amount of style and comfort,” Vorada said.

The collection, Hidden Treasures, was launched on April 29, 2019, and had more than 60 pieces available.

According to a report by Retail Group Malaysia (RGM), the retail industry achieved a better than expected growth rate of 3.8% in sales in the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), compared to the same period in 2018.

The report said all retail subsectors also recorded an improvement, except for the department store sector.

“The store cum supermarket subsector achieved a strong growth rate of 6.2% for 1Q19, compared to the same period a year ago, while the supermarket and hypermarket sector remained in the red, growth rate decreasing by 2.3% for 1Q19,” RGM said.

RGM added that in lieu of its latest results, it has revised its growth rate for the second half of 2019 from 4.5% to 4.9%.

“Despite the weak economic environment both internally and externally, the higher growth expected during 2Q19 is mainly due to the Hari Raya period. This festival in Malaysia is celebrated earlier this year compared to 2018,” it said.

However, RGM expects a slower growth after the Hari Raya celebrations and has forecast the growth for 3Q19 to remain at 3.9%.