Friday, 3 January 2020

Asia’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday makes waves across Nations

One of the oldest professions in the world has been buying and selling of goods. The famous silk route(more than a thousand years old) originated from China to Rome supplying wool, spices and a whole lot more. The global trade map is now connected and interdependent on each other with the economy of a country depending heavily on trade. In the 1950’s, the US, post WWII, to revive consumerism created the concept of “Black Friday” though it became more popular in the later decades. In the mid 2000’s, the National Retail Federation coined the “Cyber Monday” concept to make people buy online. This has led to a worldwide phenomenon with perhaps a $100 Billion in sales changing the fortunes of companies for good every year.

E-commerce companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Tmall, Lazada,, and a host of others have immensely benefited. Many companies have banked on these two days to catch up on their yearly revenues.

Circa 2009: Not to be left behind, China based Alibaba Group kick started the 11.11 and later the 12.12. campaign that zoomed way ahead of their US counterparts. The 11.11. campaign is meant to celebrate Single’s Day in China wherein, nearly $30 Billion of sales happen (sales of $7 plus billion is generated in the US). The 12.12 campaign was created to catch up on the lost discounts and ensure no one misses the bus. The 11.11. campaign has not been restricted to the Asian markets but has also spread to Australia and certain countries in Europe also.

A thumbs up for the ASEAN economy
In terms of brands, what had started with just 27 brands in the ecommerce platform Tmall in 2009, today has a jaw dropping 180,000 international brands from pin to plane including cars, fashion, electronics, cosmetics, household and food from over 230 countries. 

Buyer’s in a tizzy
Though Tmall has a huge stake in terms of sales, others such as launched their own dates (June 18) and saw sales of $24 Billion. Not to be left behind is with August 18 and Amazon too picking up July 16 as their annual date with an estimated sale of $4.19 Billion across 17 countries.

The devil lies in the details
As mentioned earlier, in 2018, Alibaba Group raked in $30 billion in just one day and was higher by a $5 billion compared to last year. Not to be left out, Shopee had 11 million orders to fulfill which was 4.5 times more compared to 2017. Local ecommerce players such as Malaysia’s Street saw its Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) go up by 6 times against the daily average in the whole of 2018. SELLinALL touched 10X GMV from 2018 11.11.Based on these numbers, it is obvious there are no losers here and everyone is benefiting from this. A study by Google and Temasek states the digital economy is expected to touch $240 billion in the next five years with the ecommerce market alone taking the lion’s share of $102 billion.
Google has reported a spike from countries like Malaysia and Vietnam two weeks before 11.11 and 12.12. Delivery companies based on analytics, searches and past data even went to the extent of pre-packing popular items three days before the sales to ensure deliveries are not affected.

Have Mobile, Go Mobile
Based on reports, mobile penetration and cheaper data has helped e-commerce companies garner higher sales with mobile specific promotions (via apps) leading to higher sales compared to non-mobile sales. Malaysia and Vietnam have been leading the pack in the South East Asian countries (SEA) successfully.
With over 72 percent of all online traffic to e-commerce platforms coming from mobile devices, study shows there are more than 350 million Internet users as of June 2018 in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam put together, with 90 percent of mobile users connecting to the Internet through their smartphones.

Pick and Choose
Banking on the festival and celebrations fever plus the huge appetite for discounts, there are so many other sale dates such as the Chinese New Year (the mother of all sales), Valentine Day, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, 5.20 and 9.9 with China taking the lead in every way possible with the rest following. India too has its sales with Amazon and Walmart led Flipkart paving the way.

Possible Year-long sale
With over 10 sale dates from just one platform and a host of competitor platforms offering their own version of sale dates, the possibility of having a year-round discount sale across platforms is likely possible and this is definitely good for companies like Singapore based which focuses on South East Asian eCommerce market.
The chances of selling older products to ensure the latest products are bought and displayed is very likely. Let us not forget, space is a premium in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong yet the desire to own more is unlimited.