Early signs of record Singles Day in SE Asia

The 11/11 Singles Day global shopping festival has started with a bang for Alibaba-owned online marketplace Lazada and regional rivals Shopee. Lazada has said it received 3 million orders within the first hour of the event beginning this morning.

Meanwhile rival marketplace Shopee has said that its order volume has tripled in the first hour by comparison to last year. It would not reveal actual volume figures.

Ahead of the Singles Day event, CEO of Lazada Group Pierre Poignant told US broadcaster CNBC that its main focus is growing customer base. As of 31st August it has more than 50 million active users in its six markets.

“There’s a conjunction of factors that are accelerating the digitization of the economy — the growth of the region, the macro environment. The consumers’ habits that are changing, high levels of investment in the region, all of these put together leads to accelerated growth,” Poignant said, adding, “We’re very confident for the future on the back of this.”

Meanwhile Shopee Chief Commercial Officer Junjie Zhou said, “This market is still at a fast-growing stage,” Zhou told CNBC in an interview before Singles Day. “If you look at online retail (portion) of the overall retail space, it’s still a very, very small percentage. But, at the same time, it’s growing much faster compared to traditional offline retail.”

Both Lazada and Shopee are regional players, albeit with Lazada supported by Chinese giant Alibaba. Southeast Asia as a region is a fairly new market and Singles Day could well drive online shopping – and of course massive demand for parcel delivery.


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