Sales growth has narrowed in Southeast Asia, says report

In Southeast Asia, 11.11 sales increased by 554% in 2020, but sales growth has narrowed, says Criteo.

In Singapore, 11.11 remains the most popular sales festival, with a 347% increase in retail sales, and a 253% increase in product views, in comparison to baseline figures in the same year.

12.12 recorded the second highest increase in sales, at 210%. Other notable increases in 2020 included a 137% increase in sales during 10.10, and a 124% increase in sales during the Black Friday period.

Criteo’s SEA Seasonal Sales Dashboard, which recorded data across 280 ecommerce players from 9 markets in SEA, revealed that while the overall sales growth for 11.11 in SEA grew by 554% in 2020, there has been a narrowing of sales growth in the past year.

This is according to Criteo, the global technology company that provides the world’s leading Commerce Media Platform.

Criteo unveiled its latest seasonal data on trending shopping festivals for Southeast Asia (SEA), including Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia on November 3.

Growth rate narrowing down

“While there has been tremendous growth in Double Day sales over the last two years, we are seeing that the growth in e-commerce sales (when compared with their respective baseline year) have been slowing down as more in the region get accustomed to remote work, life, and play. This is especially apparent for 11.11 sales in Southeast Asia, where 2019 recorded a 369.4% growth in retail sales, while this slows to 296.6% in 2020,” said Taranjeet Singh, Managing Director, Southeast Asia and India at Criteo.

“While retail sales continue to grow, we see that the rate of growth is narrowing. It is thus more important than ever for brands to understand consumer habits across online and offline platforms, and relook campaign strategies so that they can stand out from competitors and gain greater market share,“ Singh continued.

Looking ahead to Singles’ Day 2021

According to the report, while year-on-year sales growth is narrowing, retail spending is still increasing, so it is crucial for brands to better understand shopper behaviour to stay competitive during this sales period. Criteo’s data has revealed the following key observations for brands in Southeast Asia to take note of.

Consumers are considering their gift purchases months ahead of the holiday season: This is especially relevant for consumers here, with the growth of double-day sales popularity in the lead up to the year-end sales in the region. Apart from the major 9.9 and 11.11, regional retailers and ecommerce sites have also been rolling out monthly promotions like 6.6 and 10.10 shopping festivals to drive sales.

This creates opportunities for consumers to make advanced holiday gift purchases, and retailers should note to make these moments count, and capture the attention of their shoppers in advance of year-end seasonal shopping moments.

“A key way that brands can do this more meaningfully, apart from their existing digital mediums, is through video and connected TV. According to Criteo’s State of Video & Connected TV report, around 51% of video and connected TV viewers in Asia-Pacific confirmed that video streaming services have influenced their purchasing decisions in the last 12 months,” commented Singh.

“As advertising via video and connected TV continues to influence consumer purchasing decisions, brands should consider advertising partners that can help them apply first-party data to build audiences,” he continued.

Festive experience will drive in-store shopping: As the pandemic pushes 40 million SEA users online, more consumers are recognising the value of ecommerce. Yet insights from last year’s consumer behaviour revealed that consumers still prefer to shop for gifts in physical stores as they enjoy the in-person shopping experience during the holiday season. Others reported reasons like being able to see and touch items that they are purchasing, getting better shopping ideas in stores, and being able to make last-minute purchases if needed.

“According to Criteo’s Consumer Sentiment Index Survey, search engines were found to be the most popular way consumers discovered new products across categories like apparel, consumer electronics, home furnishing and sporting goods last year. This was followed closely by physical stores, brand websites or apps, retail websites or apps, and online ads. It is thus imperative that brands have a strong omnichannel strategy to stand out, enable discovery and ultimately encourage engagement and purchase during the retail experience,” said Singh.

Convenience drives online shopping: Shoppers who prefer online shopping attributed their preference to the convenience that online shopping brings. This is especially apparent for younger consumers like Gen Z and Millennials. Others reported a higher propensity to buy gifts online as they believe they’ll be able to find better prices.

“The first step that brands need to take is to relook their Commerce Media strategy, or to put one in place. This refers to a new approach to digital advertising that combines commerce data and intelligence to target consumers throughout their shopping journey and help marketers and media owners drive commerce outcomes,” Singh explained.

“After identifying their main shopper demographics, brands can then leverage awareness, consideration, and conversion campaigns during the festive shopping season to drive audiences from one stage of the customer journey to the next,” concluded Singh.