Singles Day 2022 Live Commerce Analysis

Social commerce has taken over brick-and-mortar stores to become the second-most preferred shopping channel in SEA. Most online purchases in Southeast Asia are from consumers who discovered products. And 62% of these purchases come from social media platforms, with short videos cited as the primary format fuelling these discoveries.

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To say that social commerce is booming in Southeast Asia would be an understatement. 

Having recently taken over traditional brick-and-mortar stores to become the second-most preferred shopping channel in the region, social commerce’s exponential boom can be attributed to high levels of social media engagement and a pronounced reliance on mobile devices. According to a recent survey by customer data platform iKala, 42% of customers in Southeast Asia use social media to shop at least once or twice a month, while 35% shop on social media more than three times a month. 

Women between the ages of 25 and 34 are amongst the biggest drivers of shopping on social media, accounting for 80% of all transactions, according to data from research firm GWI. Additional research from Facebook and Bain and Company shows that most online purchases in Southeast Asia are from consumers who discovered products, rather than intentionally seeking them out. 62% of these purchases come from social media platforms, with short videos cited as the primary format fuelling these discoveries.

According to retailers surveyed by iKala, social advertising is one of the most popular ways to boost sales. In Thailand, for example, tactics like building social credit via buyer ranks and customer feedback are increasingly popular, while in the Philippines and Singapore, incentivising live stream audiences with giveaways and coupons has proven to be highly effective in driving sales. 

Social commerce also ties into the growing focus on customer experience to drive both acquisition and retention. But to make the social shopping experience as smooth as possible for consumers, brands and platforms must work together to build a seamless end-to-end infrastructure, from product discovery to checkout. 

Here are some ways brands are doing this today to succeed in the social commerce game:

Recommendations for brands

1. Prioritising culture and community 

While there has been extensive discourse around data, algorithms, and formats deployed in social commerce strategies, brands who succeed keep people at the center of the conversation. Community is the glue that holds social media together, and brands must continue investing in their audiences to ensure their marketing efforts are relevant. There are considerable opportunities for brands who activate influencers and communities for campaigns, and keep them engaged by providing them with a wider purpose, for example. 

Social platforms are also evolving into cultural discovery engines, presenting new opportunities for both brands and shoppers to discover one another. As long as brands keep telling compelling and social stories about their products, and draw consumers in with  thumb-stopping social experiences, they are more likely to keep shoppers coming back for more. 

2. Setting goals and benchmarks for social commerce efforts

A lack of robust measurement tools and technologies, as well as unclear targets are undermining brands’ efforts to craft effective social commerce strategies. Survey results from Econsultancy, Magento, and Hootsuite showed that a lack of measurement technology is hindering social commerce strategies in Southeast Asia, alongside a prevalence of unclear targets. 

Alongside these barriers, marketers surveyed for the study also cited a lack of expertise in social commerce (13%), with most considering social media as only a customer service channel (12%). 
But more brands are waking up to the importance of incorporating social commerce into their online marketing strategies. Two-thirds (64%) of brands surveyed mentioned having a well-developed social commerce strategy that drives results. Interestingly the majority of Southeast Asian marketers used WhatsApp in their strategies, highlighting the region’s shift towards conversational commerce. 

3. Use social commerce as a stepping stone toward wider ecommerce innovation

In Southeast Asia, more brands are using social and conversational commerce to drive higher visibility and sales. L’Oréal apothecary-inspired brand Kiehl’s, for example, saw a 22% increase in sales after running an ecommerce campaign on Facebook Messenger. 

By using messaging apps and chatbots to create meaningful two-way communication with shoppers, brands have a better chance at building trust and connection with them. Ecommerce marketplaces in the region have noticed how brands are using social platforms to drive sales, and are introducing social shopping features of their own. For example, major ecommerce player Lazada introduced an in-app live streaming service and Image Search feature that helps 500,000 customers daily to discover approximately 20 million products. 

Insights from the Philippines’s live streaming efforts during Singles Day 2022 

In the Philippines, names like ChoOxTV, Alodia Gosiengfiao, and Dexie Diaz have been captivating audiences with Singles Day with live streams across platforms like Lazada, Shopee, ZALORA, and TikTok. Product categories like beauty, skincare, fashion, accessories, and electronics tend to be the most popular during live shopping sessions, and this year’s Singles’ Day was no exception. 

Given that the majority of the Philippines’ top streamers are young women in the modelling, fashion, and cosplay industries, their viewers also tend to be overwhelmingly female and under the age of 35. Cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao are home to these shoppers, who also boast of an annual income over 500,000 pesos — indicative of an income bracket with some amount of disposable income.

What brands can learn from China’s 2022 Singles Day efforts

China — a pioneer in the realm of live streaming and live commerce, is considered to be a global leader in social commerce. Home to Its Singles Day social commerce efforts are usually nothing short of a spectacle and 2022’s campaigns have proven to be no different, offering a variety of valuable lessons for brands in Southeast Asia to adopt and emulate. To illustrate, Yimian, an Ascential company and leading AI-powered commercial data analytics solutions provider, analysed the efforts of prodigious influencer Liu Jiaqi (Austin) to drive 11.11 sales for local and international brands. 

This year, Austin’s hit variety show, “All Girls’ Offer 2'', was broadcasted across Taobao, video sharing website Bilibili, as well as social platforms Xiaohongshu, Weibo, and TikTok ahead of and during the 11.11 megasales. The show introduced several Chinese and international beauty brands like Osman, Estée Lauder, Winona, and Proya to mainstream viewers., 

Using a series of creative sales mechanisms and tactics, including coupons, freebies and discounts after spending a certain amount, Austin was able to unlock an exponentially high volume of sales from social shopping. Skincare and beauty brands Proya and Winona owed over 70% of their 11.11 sales to his live stream efforts, with the proportions running even higher for international brands — Skinceuticals (89%), Olay (78%), and Estée Lauder (74%). 

Overall, Austin’s efforts received 456 million views and drove 14.68 billion RMB worth of sales for 11.11 campaigns in 2022, showcasing the power of social commerce done right. 

How brands can prepare for social commerce success in 2023

At the end of the day, an effective social commerce strategy needs to account for all the wider trends, patterns, and developments that are contributing to the development of community and conversational commerce.

Platforms like Yimian are providing brands with a simplified and effective way to bring these elements, powered by actionable insights that can help expand their market share and succeed in social commerce. 

By putting the spotlight on Southeast Asian consumers, Yimian is helping brands identify relevant trends and opportunities and do more with precise and reliable data across industries and verticals. Brands can also monitor their market share with Yimian’s Market Share solution. 

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