With '11-11' sale, Shopee hopes to cash in on Christmas love

Sofia Monica Regalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2019 11:57 AM | Updated as of Oct 23 2019 11:17 AM

A woman browses her mobile phone beside a giant Christmas tree in Manila. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

SINGAPORE -- Shopee refreshed its website and mobile app with snowflakes and pictures of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, as it sought to lure more Filipinos to the platform with a one-day sale that banks on their love for Christmas.

In the Philippines, Shopee billed "11-11" as a "Big Christmas Sale," when for the rest of its Asian markets, the day is marked as a Single's Day Celebration.

Shopee billed "11-11" as its biggest yet in terms of products offered and discounts, with some going for as much as half price off. Its "9-9" sale 2 months ago offered 113 million deals and an ad featuring international football star Cristiano Ronaldo got 35 million online views.

Sale events such as "9-9," "10-10" and "11-11" serve to attract new customers and repeat customers, said Shopee's Chief Operating Officer Terence Pang. Rival Lazada also holds sale events on the same dates.

"What Shopee needs to do is to provide them with this excuse to come on and develop a habit with us and build this relationship and help them buy more things online," Pang told reporters.

Leading up to the 11.11 "Big Christmas Sale," Shopee offered coupons, flash sales and other special offers as early as Oct. 15, said its CEO, Chris Feng.

The "11-11" starts at midnight, just as brick and mortar shopping centers drape their shops with Christmas lights and as workers receive their year-end bonuses.

With many buyers and sellers online, Shopee "decided to create a platform that addresses the need for a mobile-first approach," he said.

"The users in Southeast Asia are getting more demanding. They want more than just getting good price. They want an entire experience," he said.

Shopee tapped Pacquiao to add to the "fun" shopping experience on the platform, which also hosts in-app games. Its "Live" feature connects buyers with other consumers and celebrity endorsers, online.

Shopee is the number 1 app in the shopping category in Southeast Asia and Taiwan based on monthly active users, total downloads, and total time spent in-app, according to App Annie Rankings, an industry tracker.