South-East Asia’s attempts at replicating Singles’ Day sales drive shopping boom


SINGAPORE • Monthly mega-sales events are emerging as a key driver for South-East Asia’s online-shopping boom, a study showed, as the region’s retailers are seeking to duplicate the success of China’s Singles Day and North America’s Black Friday.

About 86% of the roughly 4,000 people surveyed in Southeast Asia said they bought products online during sales days pegged to identical-number dates such as 6/6 and 7/7, according to the study by Facebook Inc and Bain & Co. Of these buyers, 43% were first-time online shoppers, with the highest percentage of them in Thailand and Vietnam.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Lazada, Sea Ltd’s Shopee and Qoo10 are trying to lure online shoppers by offering huge bargains and special deals in the region of more than 650 million people. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a growing number of retailers and brands have piggybacked on the e-commerce giants’ marketing to capture a bigger share of online sales.

“Mega-sales days are something that uniquely started happening within South-East Asia,” Benjamin Joe, VP of Southeast Asia and emerging markets at Facebook, said during a virtual briefing yesterday.

“Historically, it was a discount-driven, one-day event, but what we’re seeing is a repeat of numbers like 7/7, a pattern,” with apps offering rewards and gamification to attract buyers, he added.

About 72% of the surveyed said they plan their mega-sales purchases ahead of the events. About 63% used social media to discover new products and a majority of those said they did so via video.

The report used data from GlobalWebIndex Core Survey Panel involving about 4,000 Internet users across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in the fourth quarter of 2020.