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.

New funding, new Jack Ma comment on Indonesia and a few concerns surrounding Single’s Day. Here are the morning ecommerce headlines that you should know:

1. Helpster, startup connecting blue-collar workers with temp jobs, raises $2.1 million in seed funding 

Indonesia’s Convergence Ventures led the round with Wavemaker Partners and other investors participating. Helpster sorts through applicants who fill in data through the app. It then matches them to companies looking for help. Businesses can range from food and beverage to hospitality, events, and logistics.

Read the rest of the story here.

2. Jack Ma not giving up on Indonesia 

“I never say no,” Ma told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of Alibaba’s Singles Day or the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, dubbed the world’s biggest ecommerce event, in Shenzhen, China, on Friday evening. Indonesian Information and Communications Minister Rudiantara recently said Indonesia had “lost” to Malaysia in securing Ma as adviser for the country’s ecommerce development plans, adding he had seen pictures of Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in agreement to become the neighboring country’s digital economy adviser.

“We acquired Lazada so that we can be in Indonesia as well as five other Southeast Asian countries […] obviously Indonesia being the largest market.” – Alibaba Group co-founder and vice chairman Joseph Tsai.

Read the rest of the story here

3. A word of caution for ecommerce brands looking to market around Single’s Day

Alexis Lanternier, CEO, Lazada Singapore, said last year, the brand saw an uplift of six times in revenue on key sale dates through Online Revolution – 11 November and 12 December.

Such occasions serve as an opportunity for ecommerce platforms to not only expand their consumer base by spreading awareness about their presence. This helps us gain trust in the highly cluttered market.

Read the rest of the story here

4. Pos Indonesia eyes role as logistical backbone for ecommerce

With ecommerce booming in the country, the government is pushing state-owned postal service PT Pos Indonesia to benefit from this growing industry by providing logistical support for online businesses. Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara says:

“Ecommerce players don’t need to establish their own logistical unit, as they can share a single logistical platform provided by Pos Indonesia.”

Read the rest of the story here

If you’re interested in ecommerce, you might also find these recent reports about online retail helpful.

Welcome back from the weekend. Here’s what you need to know.


1. Jack Ma not canceling on Indonesia

“We acquired Lazada so that we can be in Indonesia as well as five other Southeast Asian countries. Obviously Indonesia being the largest market.” Said Joseph Tsai, vice chairman of Alibaba.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Lippo Group betting on e-money for digital age

Indonesia’s Lippo Group is turning ecommerce, electronic money and other information technology-related enterprises into a new pillar of its business, closely monitoring spending trends to gain a better foothold in the greater Southeast Asian market.

Read the rest of the story here


3. China Singles Day: a retail goldmine

Chinese retailers are outperforming the global competition, with an average time of 3.4 seconds before their websites become usable for Chinese customers (compared to 7.7 seconds for global retailers).

H&M stood out as a shining light amongst the global retailers; with an average time of just 2.4 seconds before customers could start interacting with its website from China.

Read the rest of the story here. 


1. Alibaba and Thai Chamber of Commerce team up has appointed the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) as its first authorised e-commerce training center in Thailand. Both organizations have joined forces to accelerate ecommerce group in Thailand and to help boost SME growth.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Record $12b spent by Alibaba shoppers halfway through China’s biggest sales day

Alibaba manages to break its own 11.11 record every year. This number averages out at a billion dollars per hour. Virtually all of China’s shopping apps and websites have a day of sales, but only Alibaba is releasing real-time data on how much people are spending.

*update: 11.11 smashed records this year, with total GMV rounding up to $17.73 billion.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Fintech startup MC Payment raises $3.5m to move into Thailand

 This latest funding round was led by Thailand-based investment firm 2W Group. Aura Funds Management, Tryb Capital, and Perle Ventures also participated.
In addition, MC Payment says it will use the money to explore acquisition opportunities and to do some strategic venture capital investing of its own in Southeast Asia. It’s looking to work with companies that can help it get more merchants to use its products across its current market.
Read the rest of the story here

It’s 11.11, and in ‘ecommerce speak’, we know what that means. Look no further for our round-ups on Alibaba’s shopping extravaganza and more.

1. Alibaba beats Singles Day sale record

the ecommerce giant made $5 billion within the first hour, and this number shot up to $7 billion by the second hour. The company led into today’s sale with a star-studded promotional gala that it called “a cross between a 1960s variety show and home shopping network.” Katy Perry, who had been set to appear, canceled at the last minute.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Cambodia Will Be Asia’s Next Online Shopping Battleground

TNS Global expects that international sites like AliExpress and Amazon will come to dominate e-commerce in Cambodia, especially with their consumer protection policies. But that may be at least five years away, and for now the domestic market is adopting to local conditions, such as the fact that most Cambodians still do not use credit or debit cards.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Live Updates of Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Through Alizila

10:37 a.m. CST: Alibaba had released the following updated figures about the massive online sale so far. These numbers are as of 8 a.m. CST:
•Total GMV had reached $9.12 billion.
•The percentage of mobile GMV to total GMV was 84.9%
•The number of countries and regions with completed cross-border transactions: 207

Read the rest of the story here

Here’s some key headlines to round up the day.


1. Lippo’s retail arm Matahari Department Store dives into ecommerce

According to Christian Kurnia, Director of Marketing & Merchandising, Matahari has a loyal customer base of 3.5 million registered under its loyalty card programme. By going online, the retailer can reach many more, though Christian did not say how many they were targeting.

Read the rest of the story here


2.How Southeast Asia’s ecommerce companies should brace for Singles Day

Partner up, automatic on-boarding, sync stocks and more.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Online fashion retailer Nasty Gal will file for bankruptcy

The decade-old company is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it restructures. Additionally, founder Sophia Amoruso is resigning as executive chairwoman.

Read the rest of the story here