Alibaba Group held its Asia-Pacific press conference for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival 2020 at Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort on October 29, with a mix of in-person and virtual attendees from across the region
Speaking at the virtual press conference for the festival, Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group emphasised the importance of embracing innovative digital technologies and shared about how Alibaba is helping more brands – both in mainland China and overseas – participate in 11.11 this year.
This year’s 11.11 will see more brands and products making their debut on Taobao and Tmall’s platforms, with over 2,600 new overseas brands, more than 2 million new products, and 250,000 brands being introduced to the Festival for the first time this year. Renowned luxury brands joining for the first time include Prada, Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, Balenciaga, and Chloé.
To cater to the wider international reach for this year’s sales, Alibaba Group’s cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola will be joining the 11.11 festivities, with Tmall Global + Kaola featuring products from 89 countries and markets.
Tung also pointed out some other highlights of the festival to look forward to. The event will cover the holistic participation of business units across the Alibaba ecosystem to provide more seamless end-to-end shopping experiences, from Alipay, Tmall Global, Fliggy, and ticketing platforms such as Taopiaopiao and Damai.
Another hightlight is the festival’s evolution from a "single" to a "double" festival this year. With double the entry platforms participating (Taobao and Alipay), double the shopping periods (an additional sales window for the very first time from November 1 to 3, ahead of the regular sales on November 11 proper), a double gala (the Tmall 11.11 Livestreaming Grand Ceremony on October 31 and the Tmall 11.11 Countdown Gala on November 10) – this means double the opportunities for brands and merchants to showcase their products and stories and double the fun for shoppers all over the world.
Moreover, the event has a focus on the young and new blood. To better cater to Gen Z consumers, there will be more emphasis on street fashion and technology, with big-ticket items such as cars and houses also on offer on the platform for the first time. Livestreaming will also take the centerstage and will be a strong pillar this year, with 60 per cent of the Taobao Live sessions to be conducted by merchants themselves. In addition, 300 celebrities and artists will be joining in the livestreaming sessions across the sales period.
Meanwhile, Alvin Liu, president, Tmall Import and Export, stressed the theme of rising cross-border growth and growing opportunities in fulfilling the demand for online commerce from a fundamental shift in consumer attitudes. An increasing number of consumers have started to shop online and will continue to do so, with consumer habits changing for good even after the pandemic. An example of this is how the Tmall Global GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew over 40 per cent on-year in April to June.
"There is also a sharp increase in the online purchases of imported products due to the impact of the pandemic on international travel," he said. "The pandemic has transformed the consumption environment and created new consumption trends with strong and sustained growth in consumer demand for essential items, home and living, and healthcare products even after the pandemic situation has stabilised in China."
Based on these trends, new supply and new formats will be brought to consumers. Over 1.2 million new imported products will be debuted, including those from 2,600 overseas brands joining 11.11 for the first time. An example is The Bravados, Universal Music Group’s merchandising and brand management division, which has just launched a store on Tmall Global featuring merchandise from top international artists such as Tupac, Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Taylor Swift.
With regards to new formats, through on-site livestreaming sessions at bonded warehouses, Tmall Global will provide consumers with a transparent, seamless, and secured shopping experience. This, coupled with strong logistics support from Cainiao, will help brands fulfill cross-border shipments.
Zooming in on the opportunities for Southeast Asian businesses, including those from Vietnam, Jessica Liu, co-president and regional head of commerce of Lazada Group shared the scale at which local brands are participating in this year’s Global Shopping Festival through Lazada as well as a sneak preview on what shoppers can look forward to.
She said that there will be wider brand and seller collaboration. This year’s festival will see strong partnerships across the region, with more than 70 brands collaborating with Lazada to create a visually fun brand showcase, featuring signature and hero products from their exclusive 11.11 catalogue. More than 350,000 sellers and brands across the region will be participating, including Lancôme, Under Armour, Swatch, and Castrol. Lazada also unveiled their first Lazada regional brand ambassador, South Korean actor and model Lee Min Ho.
The festival will have Enhanced Shoppertainment content. Starting from November 1, Lazada will be launching their latest 11.11 exclusive game, Happy Bounce, across Southeast Asia on their in-app gaming platform, LazGames. Players can win Lazada coins and vouchers to offset their purchases.
Just like Alibaba’s gala show, Lazada’s signature 11.11 Super Show will see local celebrities and performers celebrating 11.11 with a series of performances in each market. Shoppers will be able to win exclusive vouchers through various localiSed segments while tuning in to the show.
Lazada’s entire logistics network covers six countries across Southeast Asia, with 45 logistics partners, over 15 warehouse facilities, and over 400 fulfilment centers and hubs. To prepare for the large volume of deliveries, Lazada has over 40,000 warehouses and logistics staff to support an approximate 20-fold increase in volume against regular deliveries from domestic and cross-border sales.
She said that Southeast Asia was already the fastest-growing ecommerce region before the pandemic but it has grown tremendously this year as young entrepreneurs in ASEAN are eager to join the Lazada platform to meet consumer needs driven by the pandemic.
"Online shopping is not omnipresent among all Southeast Asian consumers, so it was a big change for them as more of them began to turn to online shopping as their main purchasing medium during COVID-19. In particular, we saw that our demand for product categories changed significantly, with office essentials becoming a staple buy. This is one product category that we’ve made sure to stock up on in our inventory in the lead-up to 11.11," she added.