Bigger than Black Friday: Asia’s eCommerce sales events

4 min. read

What do 10/10, 11/11 and 12/12 do have in common and why are they more relevant to the SEA market than Black Friday?

Outside of the traditional Christmas and New Year sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day are widely recognized online sales events that typically dominate the headlines due to the massive numbers they generate from discount sales. And rightly so. In 2020, despite the uncertainties that came with the emergence of COVID-19, Black Friday and Cyber Monday cumulatively brought in US$19.84 billion across the USalone while Amazon Prime Day generated US$10.4 billion worldwide.

However, in as much as these numbers are impressive, over a steady course of time other events around the world have been gradually growing in prominence, notably in emerging markets such as Mexico’s US$11 billion El Buen Fin event or the US$115 billion Singles’ Day sales in China.

Specifically, in Asia, a number of big events go unnoticed by international merchants.

What are some of these events across Asia and Southeast Asia?

In the APAC market, massive online sales events have been around for years; they’re held annually in individual countries or across a group of them, and center around a date that usually denotes the timing of the event.

Only in recent years have foreign merchants begun to take notice of them and the massive numbers they draw, displaying the rapidly growing online market available across the Asian region for the discerning merchant.

Super Shopping Day (9/9)

Known as “9.9 Super Shopping Day”, this online sales event was launched in 2016 by the eCommerce tech company, Shopee, and covers Taiwan alongside the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

This annual event saw its most successful iteration in 2020 as Shopee sold 1.8 million products within 1 minute and 12 million items within an hour. The success of the Super Shopping Day has not gone unnoticed as other Southeast Asian eCommerce platform giants such as Lazada have also started their own year-end sales around the time period.

Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale (10/10)

Flipkart is India’s leading eCommerce marketplace that sells over 80 million products and edges out Amazon India. The company was launched in 2007 and in 2014, The Big Billion Days Sale was initiated, which has gone on to grow so much that in 2020, it provided for over 250 million consumers and partnered with over three million sellers across 2,000 cities.

The eCommerce giant touts itself as India’s “one-stop shopping destination” that has everything and anything a customer could need, and in 2018 this must’ve caught Walmart’s attention because the US retailer went on to win a bidding war against Amazon for the Indian company and acquired a 75% controlling stake for US$15 billion.

Singles’ Day (11/11)

Also known as anti-Valentine’s Day, Singles’ Day was started in 1993 by four friends and they chose November 11 (11/11) to simultaneously denote each one of them and the single digit that is “1”. As the years went on and the anti-Valentine Day celebration grew in notoriety, Alibaba seized on the popularity and, through clever marketing, they catapulted the occasion to the point that it is now the biggest sales day event globally; where Amazon Prime Day made US$10.4 billion worldwide, Alibaba made US$74.1 billion from Singles’ Day in China.

Alibaba is not the only eCommerce platform cashing in on sales; others, too, are in on the big event, such as Jingdong ( Together, the two businesses generated US$115 billion in 2020 over the event, and as the sales occasion has grown, foreign businesses have begun to notice, to the point that US businesses have started participating more actively in China’s sales events and in 2020, these foreign businesses made US$5 billion from Singles’ Day.

HarBolNas (12/12)

The name, HarBolNas, comes from “Hari Belanja Online Nasional” and translates to “National Online Shopping Day” in English. Having started in 2012, it was launched on December 12th as a means to promote online sales across Indonesia. Since then, the event has become the country’s biggest annual eCommerce shopping event, and in 2019 it had grown to generate over US$640 million.

How to enter and succeed in the Asia and Southeast Asia markets

Becoming a merchant within a region is not straightforward, otherwise, there would be a lot more international merchants present in Asia. Alongside identifying the best possible business partner to work with, there are other key points that interested merchants must take note of:

Local payment structures

Shopping behavior and preferences vary from region to region. Some of the key variations are local taxes and FX regulations, as well as the prefered payment methods in each country. From UPI in India, to eWallets in Malaysia: knowing the local nuances is one of the most valid reasons to partner up with a payment expert, with a deep market knowledge for all targeted markets.

Grow your business with dLocal

The Asian region is a rapidly growing market with huge opportunities for global and regional merchants. If you’d like to know how we can help your business achieve a smooth penetration into the area with regards to local payment structures, compliance with local regulations, and adapting to the market, let’s talk about your business.

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