11.11 Playbook: Win the Year’s Biggest Shopping Season

As we approach the year end and one of the busiest shopping seasons and shopping festivals of the year, retailers in the region are at a loss on how to recover. In Asia, the season starts with the 11.11 Singles’ Day sale followed by 12.12. The term was coined by e-commerce giant, Alibaba in 2009. China’s Singles’ Day  is now an annual worldwide hundred-billion-dollar phenomenon for Asian e-commerce powerhouses. We looked at XACT, our proprietary data management platform, to uncover the 4 consumer insights retailers need to know to tackle this year end season.

Make It Omnichannel

According to XACT data, most countries in 2019 still recorded increases in footfall traffic leading up to 11.11. This shows retail customers would flock to the malls to scout out the products they are looking for before opting to purchase them online later, when footfall then plummets. Singapore was the only country that seemed unaffected (Figure 1), possibly thanks to in-store specific 11.11 promotions.

A graph of business insights on footfall traffic to malls
Fig. 1: XACT, Footfall traffic to malls during 2019’s 11.11 sale season.

Find Hidden Opportunities

During the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have had to deal with a 34% decrease in overall spending, except for groceries and essentials, as seen in a joint survey we conducted with (Retail Consulting house? What is their description?) Pinnacle Analytics (Figure 2). In order to soften the blow to consumers, brands can introduce extended buy now, pay later pricing models during this year-end sale period.

There is also a 40% increase in consumer’s willingness to try new brands, according to a survey by Bain & Company (Figure 3). Businesses can leverage on this by introducing specific bundle buys to increase the purchase of non-essentials. For example, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) players can bundle soft drinks with potato chips which have increased since shoppers started spending more time at home.

A graph of business insights on pinnacle before and after covid
A graph of pinnacle analytics
Fig. 5: Pinnacle Analytics and ADA consumer survey of shopper mall preferences.

Meet New Consumer Needs

A mindset change is in order for retailers still hoping to go back to pre-pandemic days. Retail customers have changed the way they shop with most of them intending to make the change permanent. For instance, 70% of consumers have increased their at-home and contactless shopping habits, according to a survey by Bain & Company (Figure 4). Meanwhile, over 30% have shifted to purchasing from neighbourhood malls, according to the ADA & Pinnacle study (Figure 5).

Retailers can meet consumers halfway. Some examples include KFC and Nando Malaysia’s curbside service or Indonesia’s 99 Ranch Market to order online and pick up in store. Another more creative solution is the introduction of parcel lockers in Thailand for consumers that lack the mailbox space or are too busy to receive their parcels from online stores.

A graph of consumer behaviour changes
Fig. 4: Bain & Company, consumer behaviour changes.
A graph of pinnacle analytics
Fig. 5: Pinnacle Analytics and ADA consumer survey of shopper mall preferences.

Plan for eCommerce

According to XACT data, malls have not yet recovered after nearly a year of the pandemic, (Figure 7) although the use of shopping apps has increased and continues to stay high.

A graph of business insights on mall footfall
Fig. 6: XACT, footfall to malls.
A graph of pinnacle analytics
Fig. 5: Pinnacle Analytics and ADA consumer survey of shopper mall preferences.

As retail customers shift their shopping behaviour online, many brands are pivoting to follow suit. But not all can find the right value proposition or ensure an uninterrupted supply chain to meet increased demands. For example, Singapore Airlines’ “Flights to Nowhere” may be a solution for now but it’s hard to see this as a long-term solution for the business given their fleet size.

It is also important to consider availability as a value proposition. Keep an eye on supply chains to avoid selling out within the first 30 minutes. While pivoting your retail sales channels, don’t forget about supply chain links and don’t hesitate to leverage retail analytics to monitor demand by locality through solutions like ADA’s Retail Business Insights Dashboards or Location Planning. Businesses can also leverage AI the way Unilever did to ensure stocks are kept in check-

Digital Destiny

Even before the pandemic, retailers had been struggling to keep up with retail customers and their accelerated shift to digital. Those advocating for more focus on digital transformation can now ride the wave where entire industries are simultaneously being forced to go digital or, in many cases, die. In short, retailers need to start planning for the next shopping holiday early with 12.12 just around the corner, this could be the chance for businesses to finally take the lead and drive the trends of consumers once again.


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Simon Paterson

Chief of eCommerce Enablement

Simon Paterson

Simon is a visionary and skilled at cultivating leadership.

As the Chief of eCommerce Enablement, Simon’s foray into eCommerce started over a decade ago in SEA. One of his stints include a role as a Senior Vice President and Group Head on On-site Traffic Strategy, along with other C-level positions in Lazada.

Prior to eCommerce, Simon gained more than 10 years of sales and marketing experience in the FMCG industry with Colgate Palmolive and Reckitt Benckiser across Australia, Europe and Southeast Asia. His extensive experience living and working in multiple cities have brought about multiple perspectives and varying ways of thinking.

Before the merger with ADA, Simon was the CEO of Awake Asia and he was able to spearhead the geographical expansion of the company into multiple countries, including Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Now with ADA, he is dedicated to bring forth the same energy and commitment to provide brands with data-driven, AI-enabled eCommerce solutions today and into the future.

Over the weekends, Simon can be seen cycling or running around Singapore. His longest ride pre-covid involved a 200km round trip to Malaysia for a Laksa.