Online shopping habits hold fast even as consumers return to physical stores for Mega Sale Days: Study

New Meta study reveals mobile, social and immersive experiences influence mega sale purchases in Asia Pacific

Consumers are returning to physical stores but the digital shopping habits formed during the pandemic continue to be relevant as seen by the equal reliance on mobile.

67% of year-end shoppers surveyed said they discover new products in-store and 66% said they discover new products on their mobile phones in the latest study by Meta. For Gen X and Baby Boomers, mobile as a discovery channel increased by five points to 58%. Overall, 7 in 10 shoppers surveyed said they will spend more or the same as last year.

These statistics are from the latest Seasonal Holidays Study, a survey of nearly 18,000 people across 12 APAC markets, was conducted in December 2021 about their year-end shopping attitudes and behaviours.

The study outlined five new year-end Mega Sale Days consumer shopping trends to help businesses maximise every sales moment. The following are the key highlights from the study:

  1. Mega Sale Days drive new product discovery and consideration. 94% of year-end shoppers surveyed are likely to try a new brand particularly in the following categories – Apparel and Fashion (46%), Food (46%) and Electronics (41%). 66% of all year-end shoppers enjoyed discovering relevant items they were not actively looking for.
  2. Consumer shopping behaviours shift across different Mega Sale Days. In APAC, Mega Sale Days span across the calendar year. 12.12 and 11.11 are the most popular Mega Sale Days, with 79% and 77% of year-end shoppers surveyed participating respectively. Product category skews are also noted – for 12.12, sales are skewed towards preparation for the holiday season with shoppers purchasing Apparel and Fashion (39%) and Health and Beauty (27%). For 11.11, sales are skewed towards purchases for Apparel and Fashion (38%) and Food (31%).
  3. Gen Z and Millennials are shopping more on social platforms. 40% of those surveyed have discovered and shopped on social platforms, and 61% of which tends to be Gen Z and Millennials. 89% of social shoppers made a spontaneous discovery while shopping online. They are 1.3X more likely to purchase on mobile compared to a non-social shopper. 67% of social shoppers have purchased a product they discovered via a personalised ad. In addition, 66% of social shoppers surveyed are most likely to trust a brand who partners with a trustworthy creator and influencer. 
  4. Entertaining and immersive experiences influence Mega Sale Days purchase decisions. Social media is a strong discovery driver through personal connections and recommendations (74%), sponsored content (66%) and video content (56%). 77% of social shoppers surveyed have watched or are open to a live shopping event online, with shoppers moving from awareness to purchase within one session. Augmented Reality (AR) technologies also have a strong influence on shoppers with 81% believing AR tools are influential in their purchase decisions.
  5. Cross-border shoppers start shopping earlier, rely on instant business messaging and focus on brand value. 55% of APAC shoppers surveyed made a cross-border purchase, with 33% of APAC cross-border shoppers starting their shopping earlier (by end November) than regular shoppers. 70% of APAC cross-border shoppers have messaged a business this past year-end. They said the convenience and instant responses from communicating with a person live were the top reasons for messaging a business. Brand values are particularly important to APAC cross-border shoppers with 46% looking at socially responsible brands, ethical/fair trade business practices (42%) and sustainability (41%).

“Brands need to start building for discovery and being part of the consideration set well ahead of Mega Sale Days. Brands also need to meet people where they are,” said Dan Neary, VP of Asia Pacific at Meta. “We recommend four key pathways to authentically engage. One, brands need to be social and mobile first and deliver personalised ads experiences. Two, shoppers need to be able to connect with brands directly through instant messaging. Thirdly, brands need to create immersive experiences through AR, live shopping and trusted creators. Finally, find creative ways to communicate your brand values and purpose.”