Digital transformation and the role of mega sale events in SEA

The pace of digital transformation in Southeast Asia has picked up over the last few years. The Covid-19 pandemic is supercharging that trend as the region now has the fastest-growing rate of digital adoption in Asia Pacific.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in the ecommerce scene. According to a study by Facebook and Bain & Company, 70 million people in Southeast Asia have become first-time buyers since the pandemic began and the share of online as a percentage of total retail is projected to grow by 85% by end-2021.

A changing landscape where ecommerce is essential

With these developments, it’s no surprise that ecommerce sales are projected to double by 2026, and one of the catalysts for this growth is the increasing emergence of mega shopping events. Apart from traditional “designated shopping periods” such as Black Friday and Christmas, consumers can now take advantage of mega sale days that take place across the year, such as 9.9 and 11.11.

Technology has been instrumental to this change. In addition to the growing breadth and depth of online marketplaces and the development of building blocks such as logistics and cashless payments, social media has also emerged as a key discovery channel for consumers: 82% of shoppers in Southeast Asia found the product they bought during the last mega sale day via Facebook or Instagram.

Consumers’ habits and preferences are also changing, with users shopping across an average of 7.9 online websites or platforms, a 50% increase from 2020. The ease with which they can discover new brands and make comparisons – as enabled by social media – has encouraged more brand switching, and a rising awareness of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors means that nine in 10 shoppers are willing to pay more for ESG-conscious brands and products.

Businesses need to adapt to deliver a seamless shopping experience

With these broader trends in mind, businesses must be prepared to adapt if they are to succeed in the long term. They need to stay relevant and meet customers wherever they are while still providing a seamless shopping experience.

Interestingly, 65% of consumers surveyed in Southeast Asia don’t know exactly what they want to buy when shopping online and are influenced by online inspiration. This presents an opportunity for businesses to make meaningful customer connections that open untapped potential and drive revenue growth. Businesses can maximize their mega sale moments by implementing the Facebook Discovery Commerce system, which is a suite of tools and solutions that leverages data-driven marketing to match products with people.

In order to focus on the customer, the product, and the shopping experience, businesses should also consider working with partners to help manage other aspects of the business, such as logistics, payments, and operations.

The battle for customer loyalty during these competitive sale moments now extends far beyond price as brands need to juggle factors such as product quality, delivery times, sustainability, and the omnichannel consumer experience.

In this first episode of Evolving Ecommerce, Dhruv Vohra, Director for Global Business group, Southeast Asia at Facebook, and Jason Suen, Head of Southeast Asia at Shopify, guide us through this fascinating topic.

Facebook recently collaborated with Bain & Company on a report titled “Southeast Asia, the home for digital transformation,” which takes business leaders deeper into the emerging trends and rising opportunities shaping the vibrant region. Check out the full report here.

Shopify, a Facebook Business Partner, is an all-in-one commerce platform that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. As part of its ongoing mission to make it easier to start, run, and grow a business, Shopify has published a best practices guide for merchants to follow during mega sale days.

This content was produced by Tech in Asia Studios, which connects brands with Asia’s tech community. Learn more about partnering with Tech in Asia Studios.


Melvin Chen

Part time TV junkie, full time producer.

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