The Southeast Asian market is, without a doubt, the largest growing e-commerce market worldwide. The region expects a 14.59% annual growth rate between 2022 and 2027. Statista and eMarketer predict that e-commerce revenue is expected to rise upwards of $100 billion in 2022 and reach $363 billion in 2025.
Many argue that the region’s recent switch in consumer spending pattern to the booming internet economy and astonishing revenue. While that is indeed a factor and a pretty significant one, it isn’t the only one.
Special sales days have contributed immensely to the Southeast Asian e-commerce boom. Events like Double Day sale days have garnered festival-like frenzies. Millions of dollars worth of transactions occur during these sale days, with billions of items shipped.
What is a Double Day sale?
A Double Day sale is a type of online sale mainly seen in China and the Southeast Asian region. Generally, a Double Day sale takes place on the last four double-date days of the year: the 9th of September (9/9), the 10th of October (10/10/), the 11th of November(11/11 or the Singles’ Day Sale), and the 12th of December (12/12 or the Doubles Day Sale).
History of the Double Day Sales and their Relevance Today
The Double Day sale’s origin can be traced back to the 1990s in China.
Back then, four young students at Nanjing University in China decided that November 11th or 11/11 would be deemed as a celebration of their singlehood. Since then, November 11th has been celebrated as Singles’ Day in China.
Yet, this celebration had nothing to do with e-commerce and the internet economy for more than one and a half decades.
Cut to 2009, enter Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba into the fray. Working with just 27 brands, the Jack Ma-founded company rebranded Singles’ Day as a Double 11 Sale Day. This was when e-commerce in Asia was just starting to grow from its infancy. Alibaba also targeted this date as an opportunity to boost sales between the traditional lull period of China’s October Golden Week Celebration and the Christmas holidays.
In its inaugural year, the company witnessed approximately $7.8m or 50 million Yuan being spent by customers. Two years later, in 2011, the total spending on 11:11 Day exceeded $600 million on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. Quadrupling sales revenue in the next edition prompted Alibaba to trademark the Singles’ Day moniker.
To put this in context with recent stats, Alibaba generated a record-breaking $84.54 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2021. From its inception to 2021, the Double 11 day had an astonishing 1,000,000% increase in its sales revenue.
Other players in the market have tried taking advantage of double-digit sales days in Asia and competing with Alibaba. This has led to three more such events in the region.
- The 9.9 Super Shopping Day was started by the Southeast Asian e-commerce, Shopee back in 2016. After its 7th edition, this Shopee event has firmly established itself as a consumer favorite. Competition from unlocked opportunities for both customers and retailers.
- Prevalent mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, 10th October is an important sales event. First conceived by Shopback as part of its Shopfest event, 10.10 Mega Sale Day has shown rising sales.
More recently, Hong Kong-based Coresight Research has started its own version of the event.
- The 12.12 Doubles Day Sale was also the brainchild of Alibaba. The company started this event in 2012 as a version of Singles’ Day for smaller retailers. Generally, Singles’ Days have been dominated by big brands. Doubles Day serves as a platform for smaller retail brands to exhibit and sell their products. Initially, Alibaba used to host this sale on its Taobao platform while transactions were pushed through its AliPay e-wallet. However, the sale has now spread to other countries in Southeast Asia with different payment modes and over 500 million annual customers.
General Stats around Singles Day and Double Day Sales
Over the last decade, the frenzy surrounding double-digit sale days has only increased. Even the pandemic couldn’t slow down these mega-sale events. On the contrary, the GMV of these sales has significantly improved during COVID and post-COVID times.
Data from a Nielsen report suggests an estimated 40% sale increase occurs monthly on one sales day. Taking advantage of this consumer behavior, Double Day events have been seen to cause a sales increase ranging from 575% to 6410% across specific categories, especially during Double 11. For example, the uplift in sales observed in the Philippines for specific product categories during Double 11 sales of 2021 was over 1000%.
Manual Toothbrush sales reached a massive uplift of 6410%, and infant milk formula pushed towards the 2400% mark. Even Singapore and Thailand saw a similar upward movement in the sales of specific product categories during the Double 11 sales of 2021. Singapore saw around a 1200% uplift in the sale of moisturizers and around 978% uplift in toothpaste. Thailand observed a rise in the sale of baby detergent (1400%) and around a 1000% uplift in dishwashing products, liquid milk, and toothpaste.
Interestingly, the 2020 Singles’ Day was a unique one-off event held over a period of 11 days. During this period, Alibaba recorded a $74.1 billion GMV, almost a 2x increase from the $38.4 billion GMV in 2019. This data showed signs that the economic slowdown caused by COVID was finally reversing.
Other Double Day events like 9.9 have also helped retailers, especially first-time online sellers. In 2022, Shopee reported that during their 9.9 shopping event, local retailers who had joined the event for the first time experienced more than 5x sales upliftment. There has also been an increase in the number of sellers participating in 9.9 sales, with the 2020 Shopee 9.9 Festival having 10 million sellers and 15,000 brand partners. Despite the pandemic, the exact edition broke the record for most products sold in one hour (12 million).
In other parts of Southeast Asia (SEA), along with Shopee, Alibaba-owned Lazada is also gaining traction on Double Day sales.
Observed Shopping Trends and Customer behavior During Double-Day Sales
Over the last three years, shopping trends and customer behavior have been heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, despite the economic uncertainty faced by a large portion of the population during the pandemic, 2020 was an eventful year for Southeast Asian e-commerce. Fears of catching COVID-19 through physical interaction have led many to buy things online.
Despite the 17% willing to spend less, 2020 and 2021 saw record-breaking online double-digit sale days. However, inflation and stricter COVID policy have caught up with this growth. Nonetheless, there may be hope in the form of consumer behavior previously seen in 2021.
Let’s take the example of Singapore. In 2021, 4 out of 5 Singaporeans planned to spend equal to or more than they had spent in 2020. In the post-COVID world, you would think people will finally be free to spend on e-commerce, even with inflation.
Not quite. A mid-2022 poll revealed that 82% of the surveyed people in Singapore strongly agree that they have to reduce their e-commerce spending. Such customer behavior might play spoilsport to the double-digit sale days.
There may be hope in the form of cross-border shopping in 2022. With online shopping, many consumers are looking at e-commerce present across international borders. Reports suggest that in 2020, Indonesia saw an eightfold increase in its imported e-commerce packages.
The tendency to shop across more platforms has steadily increased in 2022 from 2021. 56% of people said they would shop across three or more outlets in 2021. This has risen to 69% in 2022, with 37% of those looking to use five or more platforms to shop on Double 11. This indicates that more and more consumers now see promotional offers on mega sale days interchangeably generic.
Plenty of shopping trends emerged during these double-date mega-sale days. 61% of people told researchers in a survey that they were online to look for specific products specifically. Now, what were these products?
The Most Sought-After Products During The Double Day Sales
A closer look at the uplifted products across four countries (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines) in Southeast Asia gives us a better picture. Household items were in primary demand in all the countries mentioned. Manual toothbrushes, face moisturizer, laundry detergent, and shampoo were some of the products that had a massive increase in sales compared to their sales three weeks before the Double Day sale event.
Interestingly, the sale of luxury and pet-related goods was also on the rise in 2021. Shopee was one such online e-commerce platform where the sale of luxury goods exploded in 2021. The company reports that Shopee Premium brands had a 15% increase in sales during its 11.11 sale. JD.Com sold more than $14.4 million worth of iPhones in the first two seconds after sales went live on November 10 at midnight in 2021.
On the other hand, the recent 9.9 sales conducted by Shopee saw health and beauty, mobile and accessories, and home and living goods top the charts. The sale of domestic brands in China had a more meteoric rise than international goods. Sports brands like Li-Ning, Anta Sports, and FILA, and cosmetic brands like Proya and Winona grew in sales. Li-Ning and Anta Sports ranked higher than international brands like Adidas. Even for cosmetics and skincare, international brands only had a growth rate of 28% compared to the 78% achieved by domestic brands.
Consumers were also becoming smart concerning these Double Day Sales. These searches are as early as four weeks before the sale in the SEA region.
People also seek help from YouTube and other online tools to make the final purchasing decision during Double Day sales. Google reports that 96% of SEA shoppers who purchased during Double Day sales used online tools to compare and research. In countries like Indonesia and Singapore, 75% of customers used Google search to evaluate products on 2021 and 2022 sale days.
Even across Southeast Asia, this trend continued, with more and more consumers looking for good deals with cash-on-delivery, “buy now, pay later”, and same-day delivery options. An astonishing 60% of the consumers in Southeast Asia are willing to pay for same-day delivery during these sales.
Consumers have also positively reacted to these decisions across Asia. Almost 53% of Asians have stopped buying goods that harm the environment, with 28% willing to pay more for sustainable products. As a result, brands like Alibaba have offered extra discounts and coupons for sustainable and green products. This move has paid dividends, with Alibaba witnessing 2.5 million people buying green products across all its platforms in 2021’s Double 11 Sale.
Double Day Sales 2022 and Locad
Locad this year has been laser-focused on one mission – to ensure e-commerce brands ship more, deliver delight and boost fulfillment. The double-day sales were the perfect opportunity to help test the mettle and empower business owners take orders to their customers. So we take a quick look at how it went down this 2022.
The first double-day sales of the year, lots of firsts for many brands, but the cogs of the wheel aligned well to ship orders like it was business as usual
- Over 15.6K orders for 55k items were processed by e-commerce brands across multiple marketplaces
- The inbound order volume was 6.7x vs. what Locad would receive on a regular business day
- 99% of all the orders were fulfilled the within the same day
The 10.10 day sales came with its own rush. More order inflow and this meant brands attracted more shoppers.
- Locad received 6.2x orders than a regular business day
- Nearly 98.8% of the orders received were fulfilled on the very same day
The 11.11 sales or the Singles Day sales sure brought with it the pack and the punch. The anticipated order volume was bigger than 9.9 and 10.10 combined.
- Over 36K orders for 161k items were processed by e-commerce brands across multiple marketplaces
- The Locad control tower faced Zero downtime despite receiving 2x order forecast
- 99% of all the orders were fulfilled across different marketplaces
As the curtains closed on the final double day sales, there was no time to rest or relax. The event was a precursor to the final sales day of the year – the holiday sales or popularly known as the end-of-the-year sales
- The orders came pouring in with over 3X vs the 12.12 sales of 2021
- 100% system uptime during the last double day sales of the year
- 99.5% of all the orders were fulfilled across different marketplaces