End of year is always the busiest time for the retail industry as businesses expect spikes in sales volumes before the official holidays start.

For online players, this period has resulted in some of the most famous annual holiday shopping events such as Cyber Monday, Alibaba’s Single’s Day, and Southeast Asia’s Online Revolution.

In Southeast Asia, the holiday period holds even more significance for ecommerce players as 40% of their sales are generated during the last three months of the year.

eMarketer expects holiday ecommerce sales in the US to jump 16.6% year on year (YoY) in 2017 driven by mobile commerce and competition created by large retailers and digital marketplaces.

Holiday sales Southeast Asia

At least four top marketplaces in Indonesia are holding a shopping event on November 11 (11/11).

In a recent survey conducted by BigCommerce involving 1,000+ brands operating online in the US, around 50% modestly expect up to a 25% sales increase compared to the holiday period last year.

5.4% of businesses expect more than 100% of sales increase. Source: BigCommerce

Some have aimed even higher for good reason.

15.5% of businesses surveyed expect a more than 50% of sales increase during this sales period — even as much as more than 100% sales increase compared to last year. Why?

According to Deloitte, online channels will capture 51% of US consumer budgets this holiday.

With higher sales targets comes more preparation to ensure each part of the ecommerce value chain is ready to handle possible concerns mainly regarding sufficient inventory (50.63%) and delivery expectation (45%).

To full proof operations, over 37% of businesses in the US started planning for this year’s holiday season 1 – 4 months earlier than they did last year.

3.14% of respondents are actually participating in holiday ecommerce sales for the first time. Source: BigCommerce

A lot of preparation is placed during the last few months leading up to the sales event, which for Southeast Asia is coming as soon as this weekend — November 11.

If we look to Southeast Asia, the region has its own holiday mega-sales to prepare for – 11.11 and 12.12 – where order volumes can uplift by almost 300%.

Is Southeast Asia ready for the holiday rush?

The ecommerce markets in US and Southeast Asia draw many similarities. For one, mobile commerce has driven the region’s retail growth for the last two years given the mobile-first behavior of its young population.

There is also enough competition to drive prices down (to ridiculous amounts) and incentivise consumers to shop. Taking a quick glance at advertisements from popular e-marketplaces such as Lazada and Shopee indicate the amount of money being invested to capture consumer holiday spending.

Marketing of end year mega-sales in Southeast Asia. Source: Rappler (left), Shopee Singapore Facebook page (right)

Is your company ready?

Download the Holiday Ecommerce Sales Checklist here.

Winding down from a hectic Monday? Read the rest of the story here.

1. Alibaba Cloud races ahead with global expansion, adds 4 more countries to its portfolio

Alibaba Cloud announced that four new data centers would open by the end of 2016. That would add three new regions to its rapidly expanding portfolio: Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.

Cloud computing is becoming an increasingly essential pillar of Alibaba’s multi-billion-dollar businesses, which include ecommerce and logistics. For this year’s Singles Day, China’s largest shopping holiday, Alibaba Cloud processed 175,000 transactions per second at peak traffic.

Read the rest of the story here


2. 7-Eleven Malaysia offers 24/7 ecommerce service

Convenience store chain operator 7-Eleven Malaysia is jumping on the bandwagon in e-commerce by offering parcel locker services in some of its outlets to facilitate delivery for online shopping.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Rocket’s Daraz brings Black Friday sales again to Myanmar – the ecommerce engine that Daraz operates in the frontier market  will have over 100 brands covering 10,000 products which will carry discounts up to 80%. The sale will also be held in five counties that Daraz operates in.

Read the rest of the story here


Here’s what you should know before you settle into your work routine:


1. Citi and Lazada Team Up On Ecommerce

This partnership will be launched in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand in October ahead of Lazada’s “Online Revolution” campaign, the largest online shopping event in the region happening from Nov. 11 to Dec.12.  Read the rest of the story here.


2. 5 out of 10 most valuable Chinese brands in 2016 are ecommerce related

Taobao, Baidu, Tencent, Tmall and Wechat (counted independently) made the top ten list. Read the rest of the story here.


3.  Consumers Across Asia Pacific Turn to their Mobiles in Moments of Need

85% of Thais have bought a brand they would not normally consider, because of finding the relevant information at the right moment on their phones. See the infographics here.


4. Tencent is building sub-apps within WeChat

In effect, it could turn WeChat’s app into a sort of operating system within an operating system, a one-stop app that users would rarely have to leave to use other mobile apps. Read the rest of the story here.