Let’s admit it. At one point or another, we have all caved to the allure of our shopping desires, staying up into the wee hours of the night just to camp out for unbelievable discounts on Singles’ Day, the largest shopping event in Asia.
As its name suggests, Double 11 falls on 11th November and is an annual e-commerce shopping event that was initiated by Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba back in 2009. What started as a day to celebrate freedom of single people has now turned into a major retail extravaganza that has surpassed traditional shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The global shopping festival has evolved in many ways ever since its beginning. We have also seen how consumer beliefs and behaviors are changing fast due to the many disruptions caused by the pandemic. This leads us to the question: after a year of COVID-19, has there been any impact on the shopping habits of consumers? Here’s what we found!
Parcel Volumes Surged by 34.2% During 11.11 as Compared to the Pre-11.11 Period.
Based on Parcel Monitor’s data, there was a significant increase of 34.2% in e-commerce parcel volumes in Asia over the 11.11 period. This is not surprising given the wide range of promotions taking place on Singles Day. In fact, many e-commerce platforms in the region have stepped up their game this year to ensure sufficient capacity to handle the expected surge in orders. LazMall in Singapore, for instance, has been preparing for the event since the start of 2021 and has recorded a 40% rise in the number of participating merchants for this year’s 11.11.
Another possible explanation is linked to the phenomenon of “revenge spending”. Simply put, this refers to consumers, who have emerged from isolation, spending more than they routinely spent before the pandemic. With several countries once again tightening their border controls following the discovery of the omicron variant, many consumers have been forced to cancel their long-awaited travel plans. There is hence a possibility that these individuals would choose to spend more on imported products and foreign luxury brands instead, to partially make up for their “losses”.
Hong Kong Consumers Spend Big During Singles’ Day
Within the region, Hong Kong recorded the biggest growth in holiday spending this year; the average basket size in Hong Kong increased by 157% for 2021’s 11.11 sales as compared to 2020. This is possibly due to the government’s ongoing efforts to support the retail sector. One such example is the e-voucher scheme which was rolled out in two batches to help boost consumer spending in these challenging times. Under this programme, HK$5,000 will be disbursed in installments to residents aged 18 or above. Eligible citizens can receive these vouchers via different platforms; approximately 70% chose to redeem through store-valued Octopus cards, while the other 20% preferred to get it from Alipay HK.
Average Basket Size Increased in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore
Besides Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore were two other countries in the region that saw an increase in the average value of items purchased by consumers. Out of the three, the most stable growth in average basket size was observed in Vietnam; it went from US$14.55 in 2019 to US$18.36 in 2020, followed by US$20.12 in 2021.
Similar to Hong Kong’s, the Vietnamese government is also seeking to boost its e-commerce market. Back in 2020, it announced a five-year e-commerce strategy which aims to have over half its population shopping online by 2025. As of today, 7 out of 10 Vietnamese consumers have digital access and the country also has a considerably higher fintech and e-wallet penetration rate than a typical emerging market in Asia-Pacific. Considering such developments, it would make sense that Vietnam is expected to become the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the region by 2026, with a gross merchandise value (GMV) of US$56 billion at that time.
What Can We Expect in 2022 and Beyond?
While the e-commerce boom in Asia is far from over, it appears that we might now be approaching the end of an era. Based on several sources, there has been a noticeable decline in demand for 11.11 sales and Singles’ Day is losing lustre thanks to the greater frequency of sales around this period. It has come to a point where many customers are realizing that it is now possible to browse and buy from their couch without having to camp out for these annual sale events.
Is the 11.11 golden rush truly over? Have consumers finally had enough of the endless barrage of discounts and promotions? We cannot wait to find out!
Data on customers’ average basket size featured in this study were aggregated and averaged from more than 150 online merchants and more than 30 million products through each iPrice platform in 7 markets: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The figures for the past year were obtained by averaging the total amount consumers spent on 11 November each year, from 2018 to 2020.
Meanwhile, the team at Parcel Monitor has analyzed the scale of the shift in consumer spending in 2 selected Southeast Asian markets: Singapore and Indonesia from 1 November 2021 to 21 November 2021. The results have been segmented into 3 distinct time periods: Pre-11.11 (1 November to 7 November), During 11.11 (8 November to 14 November), and After 11.11 (15 November to 21 November).
About iPrice Group
As of today, iPrice compares and catalogs 7+ billion e-commerce offers from more than 8 million sellers, attracting more than 35 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.