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It’s beginning to look a lot [less] like Christmas…

19 December 2016 - Gareth Goodridge, Digital Marketing Director, Worldpay
Whilst many in the West view the run up to Christmas as the prime e-Commerce period, across the globe there are a number of other key events that offer enormous opportunities for online retailers and travel providers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now annual events in both the United States and many European countries. And it’s impossible to escape the growing success of China Singles’ Day – which broke records this year. But there are also a number of other events you should be aware of, for example Spring Festival Golden Week, (China) Japan Golden Week, and many more. Even events like Mothers’ Day fall on different dates depending on the country. In this blog we look at a few of the key events in Asia-Pacific – and how your business can maximise revenue during these peak times. In the coming weeks we’ll focus on other regional events – so keep an eye out for those.

China

When it comes to China, Chinese New Year is one of the most important occasions of the year.  Families reunite and celebrate the start of a New Year, with 2017 festivities running from January 27 (Chines New Year’s Eve) to February 2.  However, the Chinese New Year holidays run for 15 days - and mark the largest human migration in the world. Millions of people move between cities and overseas – presenting huge opportunities for travel providers.  Spending of gifts also peaks during this time – so online retailers can make a killing.

Valentines Day on 14 Feb is also growing in popularity across China.  Traditionally a Western event, the Chinese are increasingly embracing the day, and gifting is now becoming a must. Last year’s Valentines Day saw many online merchants running huge promotions and discounts to attract buyers; triggering a buying frenzy in China.  We’re predicting 2017 will continue this trend.

To maximise the opportunities around these events, mobile is key.  Last year, almost two thirds of online payments were made via e-Wallets, with Alipay and UnionPay commanding large market shares.  And mCommerce is seeing strong growth, at 33%, partly driven by payments being integrated with social media, such as WeChatPay .  Internet penetration in China is still relatively low, at 57%, but that still equates to over 785 million people – so the opportunity is massive.

South East Asia

In 2012, Google India launched the ‘Great Online Shopping Festival’ – an event which has grown in popularity across SE Asia.  It takes place on December 12 and now hundreds of retailers take part.  Online shoppers in the region can take advantage of discounts and cashback offers.  In Indonesia, online shoppers can get discounts of up to 80%, with some retailers offering even bigger discounts when purchasing via mobile.

In India, the largest payment method is cash-on-delivery, which made up 26% of eCommerce payments last year.  So, if you’re looking to access this market, it’s key you have the right delivery partner in place. Not only do they need to be reliable, but they also need to be able to handle cash payments.

In other markets, such as Singapore, Internet penetration is at saturation levels, with purchases via desktop static.  However, growth is still achievable, mainly through mobile – as smartphone adoption and mobile purchasing increases.

Japan

We can’t mention Japan without talking Golden Week.  It’s an annual event which is the collection of four national holidays within seven days.  Along with New Year and Obon, Golden Week is one of the busiest holiday seasons in Japan.  

In 2017, Golden Week starts on April 29 and runs until May 5.  The Japanese travel throughout this period, but it’s expected to peak on May 3 as millions of people leave the large urban centres, and on May 6 and 7 when they return.  

Credit Cards still rule in Japan – with over half of all eCommerce payments being made via this method last year.  However mobile payments are growing in popularity – with LINE expanding its payment service LINE Pay.  So, if you’re eyeing up the Japanese market, your payment journey needs to be mobile responsive and seamless.

So, whilst most of us in the West are nearing the end of our manic pre-Christmas shopping activity, in Asia-Pacific – there are busy times ahead.  Keep an eye out for our next regional focus.

To find out more about eCommerce trends across Asia-Pacific, download our Global Payments Report below.