When do Indonesia's Hottest E-commerce Sales Take Place?

JANIO

Some days are more lucrative than others in each year. Find out which Indonesian major shopping events you should mark down this year to win big in Indonesia.

Brought on by the rising popularity of online retail, eCommerce shopping dates have become a major cultural phenomenon worldwide, making its way into consumers’ shopping calendars and changing the retail landscape as we know it.

Traditionally, consumers’ shopping activities used to peak when a cultural holiday was approaching, such as Christmas, or national celebrations, like Independence Day in Indonesia. However, modern eCommerce shopping dates, characterised by massive discounts and promotions, are no longer tied to cultural celebrations.

While not officially recognised as holidays by the state, these “eCommerce dates” still result in huge surges in sales, much like in traditional festive shopping events. Shopping days have become a key element of online retailers’ strategies to spur consumer spending during lull periods in between traditional shopping seasons.

Indonesia’s Major Shopping Days

Indonesia’s eCommerce calendar has largely been influenced by the boom of investment coming from Chinese firms. Investor influence has caused many of the major eCommerce platforms to adopt the shopping holidays that are popular in China.

Singles’ Day & HarBolNas

Singles’ Day started in Nanjing University in 1993 when four single male students got together on November 11th to discuss ‘how to break free of the loneliness and monotony of single life’. This grew in popularity within Nanjing University and by the late 2000s, its spread through social media had made it widely known among Chinese youths. Singles’ Day became famous as an online shopping festival when Alibaba took the opportunity to launch “Double 11” deals to boost sales during a holiday lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and Lunar New Year in January/February.

As these Chinese e-commerce giants expanded into Indonesia, they brought their successful shopping holidays with them. Large online marketplaces such as Lazada and Tokopedia have created their own customised version of the 11.11 sale. Alibaba-backed Lazada adapted it by launching its now-signature ‘Online Revolution’ campaign that starts with its 11.11 sale event and ends with its 12.12 ‘Harbolnas’ event on December 12th.

Lazada Indonesia created Harbolnas, Indonesia’s own ‘National Online Shopping Day’, by collaborating with other e-commerce platforms such as Zalora and Shopee. The goal was to encourage Indonesian consumers to shop online with the idea that if all the e-commerce stores collaborate rather than compete, they could accomplish bigger sales results.

During this campaign, Lazada reduces its prices by offering discounts on products on its platform, 1-for-1 promotions and having hourly flash sales. Lazada’s partner merchants also offer special rewards when consumers spend on the Lazada platform. In addition, Lucky draws are also held where users get more chances to participate the more they spend.

In 2017, Online shopping aggregator iPrice analysed online shopping behaviour in Indonesia during the Singles’ Day period. They discovered that search interest in Lazada spiked at 1 am in the morning and 1 pm in the afternoon, likely due to the flash sales that Lazada runs at those timings because of the significance of the number ‘1’ during Singles’ Day. Items participating in the flash sale during these two timings saw increased purchase rates as they benefit from higher web traffic and from being featured on the marketplace’s front page.

iPrice also studied the behaviour of Indonesian online shoppers during Harbolnas in 12.12 and discovered that the top 5 e-commerce platforms were Lazada, Tokopedia, Shopee, Bukalapak, and Zalora, which all experienced huge increases in search interest from 10 am to 1 pm. With more people seeing merchants’ product listings, this potentially leads to increased sales.

Shopee 10.10

With the numbers 11 and 12 already taken, Shopee, as a newer entrant to the e-commerce industry, sought to capitalise on another double-number date. In 2016, Shopee launched its 10.10 campaign and ran discounts throughout the week leading up to ‘Mobile Shopping Day’ on October 10th.

While the promotions Shopee runs during the 10.10 campaign are largely similar to the ones during 11.11 and 12.12, they offer some slightly different benefits to consumers. These include earning miles from BNI-Garuda Indonesia when they spend on the Shopee’s platform and winning prizes from product giveaways held on the their app every day.

Culture-driven Shopping Spree

Even before the rise of e-commerce sales periods, cultural festivals have long influenced consumer demand for retail products. While these events saw huge surges in sales long before the internet came to exist, consumer spending during these seasons has shifted online as a result of the convenience and variety that e-commerce affords. Like brick-and-mortar retail outlets, online merchants can leverage the surge in consumer demand during this period of time to drive traffic to their site and increase sales.

Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is considered the most sacred period for millions of Muslims in Indonesia. In this 30-day period, 87% of Indonesians experience a significant shift in their daily routine, spending more time in prayer, fasting, and doing charitable deeds.

During this time, many Indonesians also start preparing their homes for house visits during the upcoming Hari Raya Idul Fitri celebrations held after the period of fasting by shopping for house décor, festive food and clothes. As online shopping becomes more prevalent and convenient, more Indonesian consumers turn to e-commerce platforms for their shopping.

Usually, online traffic on e-commerce platforms will peak by the 3rd week of Ramadan. With only two weeks left till Hari Raya Idul Fitri, the celebratory mood kicks in, spurring more shoppers to start shopping. Even in the 4th week of Ramadan, online traffic remains high as last-minute online shoppers swarm online marketplaces. The advent of same-day delivery and more efficient and secure payment options have given Indonesians the confidence to make last-minute online purchases before the celebrations start.

During Ramadan, fashion products are one of the items Indonesians buy the most as they need new clothes to wear during the Hari Raya Idul Fitri celebrations. Local fashion brands actively showcase their latest Raya collections and advertise their deals through multiple marketing channels such as online advertisements and social media posts across the country. Fashion retailers tend to put their traditional Muslim clothing in the limelight as Indonesians prefer traditional and conservative clothing during this sacred period.

Subsequently, online traffic will experience a huge dip at the start of the Hari Raya festival as Indonesians put aside their phones and focus on celebrating with friends and family. After Hari Raya, online traffic on e-commerce platforms will surge again as Indonesians look to spend the ‘Duit Raya’ they obtained during the celebrations. These are monetary gifts in the form of green packets given by relatives or salary bonuses from employers.

The surges in online shoppers throughout the Ramadan and Hari Raya period presents a golden opportunity for merchants to offer competitive discounts and creative promotions that will drive traffic towards its product listings and encourage purchase decisions.

Thinking about expanding your online store to Indonesia? Get the latest tips and tricks in our latest Indonesian e-book, now updated with Ramadan-related info!

2019 Guide to Entering Indonesia’s E-commerce Market

Other Noteworthy E-Commerce Events

Lunar New Year, which usually occurs in January or February. Indonesian Chinese would shop for new clothes and items in preparation for Lunar New Year in the weeks leading up to the celebrations. Merchants in the fashion industry can use this period of increased online shopping to sell relevant products.

Lazada Birthday Festival. Lazada celebrates its birthday on April 25th to 27th. Like many e-commerce campaigns, it will offer discounts, giveaway and promotions on many of its items. As Indonesia’s top-ranking e-commerce platform, its birthday sales have a significant influence on driving up online sales. Merchants should consider listing their products on Lazada and joining the campaign during this period.

Tokopedia Anniversary. Tokopedia’s birthday falls on the same day Indonesia celebrates its independence – 17th August. As Indonesia’s 2nd most visited e-commerce platform, its anniversary sale campaign is also a huge opportunity for merchants to boost sales.

Mother’s Day, also known as ‘Hari Ibu’ in the Bahasa Indo, Indonesias national language, is celebrated on December 22nd. On this day, people usually send gifts, flowers, and greeting cards to mothers and wives. Merchants selling women’s clothes, cosmetics and other typical gift items should consider running a Mother’s Day promotion, ranging from discounts to bundled gift cards and complimentary gift-wrapping services.

Types of Promotions Merchants Can Run

One constant throughout Ramadan and all the online shopping seasons in Indonesia is the draw of discounts and promotions. Today, there are multiple ways by which e-commerce players can promote their items to attract more customers in periods of peak shopping fervor.

Cart coupons

These usually come in three forms: site-wide, category-specific, or shop-specific/brand-specific. With cart coupons, users receive a code they can enter upon checkout. These codes tend to have a minimum spending quota if they’re lump-sum discounts (e.g. $10 off min $20 spending) or a maximum discount amount if they’re percentage-based discounts (e.g. 50% off purchase, capped at $10).

On marketplaces, merchants can offer seller vouchers specific to their store whereas cart coupons issued by the e-commerce platform are usually specific to a product category or can be used across all products. Depending on the platform or site’s policy, customers can either check out with one type of voucher at a time or both.

Campaign Discounts

Merchants offer discounted prices on their product listings throughout the campaign period. Typically, merchants put larger discounts on older items to clear stock and on new products as a ‘new release sale’ to encourage adoption.

Flash Sales

Items participating in flash sales usually see larger price reductions compared to campaign discounts albeit the discount only lasts for a short duration. On marketplaces, items on flash sale are usually featured on the marketplace’s front page, increasing its visibility to online shoppers. This is also done on standalone e-commerce sites by individual merchants.

Surprise Boxes

Originating from the Japanese New Year custom of ‘Fukubukuro’, merchants fill boxes with an unknown variety of goods and then sell it at a heavily discounted price. The contents of the box are usually kept secret, with only the common category or brand revealed to customers. Surprise Boxes usually attract customers that are looking for huge discounts and do not have a specific item in mind.

The mileage of surprise boxes may vary, depending on the popularity of the brand and type of items featured. This is an opportunity for merchants to take their previous season inventory off their shelves. Beyond just clearing old stock, this is also an opportunity to introduce less-purchased products to consumers who may not buy it when sold on their own. Merchants should ensure that the items they include in the surprise boxes are desirable, on top of being more valuable than the surprise box’s listed price, to encourage repeat customers the next time they release a new surprise box.

Even while e-commerce merchants decide on their marketing & sales tactics to promote their products and increase sales during online shopping seasons, it is important not to neglect the logistics required after customers click the ‘purchase’ button. The boom in product sales during online shopping seasons could possibly put a strain on most logistic companies’ delivery capabilities.

Apart from competitive prices, reliable shipping also plays a critical part in building customer satisfaction and retention. For merchants, making sure that their goods are delivered on time helps to complete the customer experience, ensuring success during these campaigns.

We hope you find our compilation of Indonesia’s top e-commerce sales periods useful. If you did, you might also want to check out our guide on how to ship internationally to Indonesia, where we cover how to choose the right shipping partner, and how to clear Indonesian customs.

To find more on the latest news on logistics and e-commerce in Southeast Asia, consider signing up for our Janio newsletter.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can solve your SEA e-commerce cross-border delivery needs, come and have a conversation with us.

Interested in e-commerce in Indonesia? Find out more about Indonesian e-commerce here:

2019 Guide to Entering Indonesia’s E-commerce Market

How to Ship to Indonesia

What’s Driving E-commerce in Indonesia?

Who are Indonesia’s Online Shoppers?

Top 4 Product Categories

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