Zalora to reach more outskirts, remote shoppers

The new normal of offline to online shopping will expand further as the pandemic subsides, says CEO

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by BLOOMBERG

SOUTH-EAST Asia apparel company, Zalora Group, is looking into expanding its presence beyond the urban areas as its users from the outskirts and remote areas have increased during the pandemic this year.

Zalora CEO Gunjan Soni said for Malaysia, the shoppers comprise 70% from the central area.

“Meanwhile, the remote users and from the outskirts are 15% and 14% respectively, showing that there is an increasing usage of online shopping even outside the central areas,” Soni said in a webinar conference recently.

Zalora regional buying director Eric Cheang said as all communities are now moving towards a more digitised direction, the new normal of offline to online shopping will expand further as the pandemic subsides.

“There will be more and more products available online, and it has never been more convenient.

“It’s even more crucial to be able to tap into customers who cannot be reached offline, as we are moving into the post-pandemic period,” he said.

According to the report, most shoppers on Zalora are in the age group of between 26 and 30, being mostly Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) shoppers who are with the most disposable income to spare.

“Unlike many other Millennials or Gen Z elsewhere in the world, a large amount of South-East Asian youths still reside with their parents, allowing these individuals to be free of financial burdens like mortgages, rent, or even electricity bills.

“This strong familial bond is what enables such young consumers to be fiscally liberated, often leading to an accelerated shopping habit exacerbated even further by social media,” the report stated.

Zalora’s consumer trends showed an uptick in sales in its “Blouses & Tunics” category by 2%, while popularity of dresses lowered by 7%, as well as activewear.

Cheang said based on the company’s data and insights, consumers have gravitated towards active and sportswear the most.

“Firstly, when you look at sportswear, they are designed to be comfortable, apart from being crafted from technical materials that have better heat-resistance and cooling properties.

“Secondly, sportswear are designed to be versatile and can be worn for multiple purposes, whereas one may wear their leggings for working at home, doing chores or the occasional grocery runs,” he said in an exclusive interview for the Zalora South-East Asia Trender report.

He added that major brands involved in sports brands have upped their game and evolved their designs.

“They have gone from designing for clothes that are purely for sports to clothes that can be mixed and matched.

“So, I think that’s why people are beginning to move towards sports and activewear during the pandemic,” he said.

The report found that there was a decrease in demand for sports lifestyle shoes, but an influx on performance tops and lifestyle tops.

Cheang said across the years, sportswear has upped their game in terms of wearability.

“Now that consumers don’t have to travel for hours to get to work, customers have more time at home to be active.

“In fact, during a lockdown, it is perhaps the only activity you can do during a pandemic,” he said.

Google Search results for fitness equipment in the second quarter of the year also showed that in Malaysia, there was a 164% increase in yoga mat searches, 52% for dumbbells and 135% in resistance bands.

In addition to the interesting fashion consumer trends, the Trender report also found that the online penetration of Malaysia was rather high, marking the correlation with the purchasing power of Millennials and Gen Z.

The report also marked the regions’ largest online audience, with 16% of them being the “thrifty fashionista”, “modest modernist” (15%), “style icon” (8%), “savvy professional” (5% ) and “the cool kid” (5%).

Each of the profile curated consists of both Gen Z and Millennials, differentiated by their unique and selective purchasing tendencies and budget choices.

Aside from shopping trends and behaviours, the report also highlights payment methods, remote connectivity, content narrative and retail channels for sellers.