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.

Still reeling from the weekend? Check out today’s ecommerce headlines.

1. FedEx Trade Networks expands Into Malaysia with Penang office

With our network stretching into Malaysia, we are well positioned to proactively respond to customer needs and support them in simplifying the complexities of international shipping,” said Udo Lange, executive vice president and COO, FedEx Trade Networks.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Black Friday online sales to hit a record-breaking $3 billion, over $1 billion from mobile

Black Friday is on track to set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time. It’s also expected to become the first day in U.S. retail history to drive over a billion dollars from mobile sales.

“The negative impact on online shopping we saw following the election has not been fully made up, but consumers are back online and shopping,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “As spending ramps up on Black Friday, we are back on track. We still expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 Billion.”

Read the rest of the story here


3. What WeChat teaches about the power  of social commerce

Amazon is a minor player in China, with about 1% of the local e-commerce market. To drum up interest in its products imported from the U.S., Amazon just put a video ad on WeChat, the all-purpose mobile app, with a link guiding people to its online shop.

“WeChat marketing is completely different. It’s a test of your patience and your faith as well. You need to allow it to burn, to travel. Then it will take off.” Says Bessie Lee, CEO of WPP China.

Read the rest of the story here


4. It’s ‘Cyber Monday’ in America

A survey released on Sunday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics estimates that some 122 million Americans will shop online on Cyber Monday. That’s up only slightly from last year’s 121 million shoppers.

Read the rest of the story here

Want a brief round-up of ecommerce news? Look no further.

1. Singaporean middle-income earners spend the most online

On average, Singaporeans spend $110 online a month on retail purchases and bookings online. Those who earn over $4290 a month spend more on online groceries.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Online remittance startup Toast raises $1.5m to be a bank for migrant workers

Today, Toast announced it has raised a pre-series A round worth US$1.5 million. The round is led by Aetius Capital, the Singapore-based investment firm that also led Toast’s seed round.

The startup has managed to get remittance licenses in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK. It started operations in Hong Kong in March 2016 and is now processing around $1 million per month in money transfers from Hong Kong to the Philippines.

Read the rest of the story here


3. In Southeast Asia, ecommerce has cyber Monday sized potential

More than 80% of digital consumers in Southeast Asia researched products or connected with sellers through chat apps or social media sites such as Instagram, and such social sales comprise up to 30% of all online transactions.

Read the rest of the story here.