Asian copycats of the successful US Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales events have now come into their own …

Advertising platform Criteo has unveiled seasonal data of trending shopping festivals for South-east Asia.

According to the platform’s 2019 Seasonal Sales Dashboard, which recorded over two billion transactions across 5,000 retailers from 35 markets, Singles’ Day (11 Nov or 11/11) last year saw a 414% increase in online retail sales and 273% increase in online retail traffic across Southeast Asia.

Last year’s Singles’ Day had the highest conversion rate,with an increase of155% in Singapore, and strong year-on-year growth of 49% from 2018.

2019 Sales events

According to the data, across South-east Asia, Singles’ Day remained the largest shopping event in countries including Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. In Indonesia, 12.12 remained the largest shopping moment within the country.

Here are the other notable region data:

Southeast Asia

  • 10.10: Online retail sales and traffic had increased by 24% and 10%
  • Black Friday: Online retail sales and traffic increased 44% and 20%
  • Cyber Monday: Online retail sales and traffic increased 42% and 25%


  • 10.10: Online retail sales and traffic increased 158% and 40%
  • Singles’ Day: Online retail sales and traffic increased 149% and 60%
  • 12.12: Online retail sales and traffic increased 258% and 77%


  • Singles’ Day:  Online retail sales and traffic increased 400% and 165%
  • Black Friday: Online retail sales and traffic increased 59% and 49%
  • 12.12: Online retail sales and traffic increased 149% and 61%

What about Singles’ Day 2020?

Criteo data also revealed that ‘Double Days’ (dates with same digits for the month and date) are growing into sales events of their own. In Malaysia and Vietnam, 7/7 showed an emerging sales peak this year, with increased retail sales by 132% and 64% in the two countries, respectively.

Most recently, substantial growth was recorded in retail sales during 9/9 sales, particularly in Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia, of 213%, 183% and 156% respectively. 

In October’s 10/10 sales events, the South-east Asia region recorded an overall 46% increase in sales when compared to the last two weeks of September, and saw a conversion rate of460%.  

Criteo also notes that shopping apps continue to grow in popularity amongst users in South-east Asia. According to a May 2020 study, 53% of consumers discovered at least one form ofonline shopping during the peak of the pandemic—be it purchasing through mobile apps or picking up online purchases in stores—that they wished to continue trying.  

Said Taranjeet Singh, Managing Director (South East Asia and India), Criteo: “Singles’ Day continues to be a key retail moment for our region. Specifically, in Singapore, where we continue to see new records in online retail sales and retail traffic on this date, every year. In light of today’s evolving landscape and developments as result of the current pandemic, retailers need to seize the opportunity of Singles’ Day 2020 to succeed with customers and drive strong sales.”

According to Singh, navigating COVID-19 challenges has resulted in evolving consumer behavior with regard to online shopping. Not only are people shopping more, they are also more inclined to using apps for retail.

“In Q3 2020, our data revealed that theshare of app saleswas 75% for retailers with a shopping app and that South-east Asia was one of the regions with the highest app share rates globally. With shoppers now inclined toward in-app retail experiences, retailers should step up efforts to engage consumers through these mediums during key retail moments like Singles’ Day for maximum traction,” Singh opined.

Brand insights

Weighing in on these recent retail trends, Jo Bjordal, Chief Marketing Officer, Zalora, commented: “COVID-19 has changed shopping behavior across our markets, with more people shifting to buying things online. The demand and consumption patterns for product categories have changed dramatically too.”

When it came to key changes in retail preferences, Bjordal elaborated on spikes in consumer demand that his firm has seen in the last recent months, even during the last Double Day, 10/10: “Within the lifestyle segment, we have seen a spike in demand towards loungewear; beauty; kids; as well as continued growth in the sports and wellness categories. In fact, these categories have grown by as much as 400% as seen in this year’s 10/10 sales days, as people continued to prioritize personal well-being and spend more time at home.”

On the other hand, Bjordal cited that demand for women’s apparel and occasion-wear products has declined from pre-COVID-19 levels, although this is expected to pick up again once the situation around the pandemic has stabilized.

Guidance for brands

As brands get ready for Singles’ Day this year, Singh recommends brands to keep the following best practices in mind to drive maximum traction with customers:

  • Target the most valuable audiences
    Through website and campaign optimization, brands can be assured of a wider reach from new and existing customers. This includes finding new, interested shoppers and re-engaging existing customers through data and insights.
  • Maximize customer value
    Customers are looking to get the most value from their purchases, so it is key to ensure that this is communicated to customers, and brands look for unique ways to differentiate their offerings, apart from providing substantial discounts in cost.

    This could include unique and practical customer services, including safer store shopping options and online-meets-offline purchasing to address customer concerns during the pandemic.
  • Enhance ad relevance
    It is not enough for brands to advertise their Singles’ Day deals: they need to ensure that ads are served in the right context and with the relevant content to their specific audience.

This means considering the timing at which ads are served, preferably at a point when consumers are likely to make a purchase.