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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Top retailers in PH: SM Retail, 3 local firms lead rankings

Philippines – The pandemic flipped everything on 360 degrees, and to look at the current rankings of the top companies in the business sector is to view it from a whole new perspective. Market research firm Euromonitor International has recently released its list of the top companies in the retail industry in Asia for 2020, and in the Philippines, a majority of those that were leading the in the year 2019 are still the ones that reigned in 2020.

Out of the 10 in the list, the top five all registered steady growth in sales in 2020, retaining their standings from the past year. SM Retail, which holds a nationwide portfolio of department stores, supermarkets, and specialty stores, still came out as the leading firm in the sector. It was followed by pharmaceutical company Mercury Drug, with grocery retailer Puregold Price Club coming out on the third spot. Meanwhile, another giant in retail, Robinsons Retail Holdings, registered neither a drop nor an improvement in sales as well, landing the top fourth spot, while specialty store group Seven & I Holdings rounded the top five. 

Top retailers in the Philippines

Three of the top firms, which are also all international companies – beauty and wellness AS Watson Group, China-based Alibaba Group, and Shopee’s parent company Sea – all recorded improvements in sales landing the 6th, 8th, and 9th spots respectively.

Meanwhile, local grocery retailer Metro Retail Stores Group was shown to drop sales in 2020, with international home retail Wilcon Depot also demonstrating the same movement in sales.

SM Retail, which registered $5.4b in sales in 2020 came out as the 9th leading retailer in the Southeast Asia region. For the region, Tokopedia took the crown with $11.7b in total sales for the year. 

Meanwhile, for the whole of Asia, it was China’s Alibaba Group Holding and JD.com that were named as top firms. 

The pandemic remains to be the biggest determinant of the rankings, where the lockdown in the Philippines had become one of the longest globally, which started in March of 2020, and is still presently in reinforcement. According to Euromonitor, this affected the way people chose to fulfill their essentials, where mixed retailers were the worst hit, with consumers opting for specialist retailers, presenting a convenient way to obtain what they needed in stock. 

With people cooped up at home, the current situation panned out greatly for e-commerce, and this showed with Shopee’s parent firm Sea registering an increase in sales. According to the report, the category had already been growing at a double-digit pace pre-lockdown but this was accelerated in 2020 with people maximizing the ease of online retail. 

An interesting growing trend in 2020 in the Philippines is community stores, or stores that are situated in nearby communities and neighborhoods. These existed prior to COVID-19, and the increase in popularity can be attributed to the presence of Alfamart, a minimart that is a hybrid between a supermarket and a convenience store. 

Alfamart is a chain of convenience stores from Indonesia, with over 10,000 stores across Indonesia and the Philippines. Euromonitor said the concept increased in relevance in 2020 as consumers looked for the most convenient ways to complete their shopping trips, with the trend expected to continue further.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

Brightcove now enables video content delivery to China via Alibaba team-up

Singapore – Brightcove, a global software company catered to providing video for business, has announced a new partnership with e-commerce giant Alibaba to enable video content delivery to businesses in China, now made possible through the Brightcove Cloud Delivery.

Powered by Alibaba Cloud, said solution will be the first video provider to enable on-demand video streaming into the nation. The launch caters to the long-time problem businesses in China have dealt with in regards to video content streaming. With the nation’s strict blockade from outside media, some companies have suffered video loading or analytics failures; others have been blacklisted for lack of an in-country domain and license. 

Furthermore, Brightcove China Delivery via Alibaba Cloud enables customers to execute a single video distribution strategy worldwide. As they do for other countries, Brightcove content owners can use a simple checkbox interface to start distributing video in China and analyze its performance.

“We’re pleased to finally enable customers to stream video within China. No longer is there a separate, complex, and disappointing process for attempting video-driven business in China. We are opening the country for business for our customers securely and reliably,” said Namita Dhallan, chief product officer at Brightcove.

Brightcove’s expansion into the Chinese market, as market research by eMarketer shows that the country is projected to have an e-commerce ‘boom’, valued at US$2.8t, which at the same time entails corporate communications divisions to continue to engage employees with more video.

“Our solution allows you to easily create a single video strategy and workflow that works around the world, including China. And it’s all backed by the reliability, scalability, and security of the Brightcove platform to bring you the extraordinary growth opportunities the Chinese market offers,” the company said in a press statement.

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Marketing Featured Global

Alibaba’s 11:11 Global Shopping Festival reels in $74.1B

Hangzhou, China – This year’s 11:11 Global Shopping Festival by commerce giant Alibaba has reeled in USD 74.1B in gross merchandise value (GMV), marking a 26% increase in comparison to last year’s event.

The shopping festival, lasting through eleven (11) days from November 1 to 11 across Alibaba and its affiliates like AliExpress and Lazada, has seen 470 brand participations. These brands, in total, amassed USD 15.1M in GMV.

Other notable statistics include:

  • 250,000 brands in total participated in 11.11 this year, of which 31,000 are overseas brands.
  • 2,600 overseas brands participated in 11.11 for the first time.
  • AI customer chatbot handled over 2.1 billion queries during the 11-day period

The United States was the top country selling to China in terms of GMV value. Other key nations include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the UK.


“Over the past 12 years, innovation has been at the heart of 11.11 and along the way it became a global consumer festival. 11.11 is defined by our consumers, merchants and our partners across the ecosystem, and also a beneficiary of all the support from society. “We will continue to focus on developing our digital infrastructure in the service of empowering merchants of all sizes to find a path to success in the digital economy,” said Jiang Fan, President of Taobao and Tmall.

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Marketing Featured East Asia

Alibaba kicks off annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

Shanghai, China – Customer-centric innovations and features—this has been Alibaba’s focal point this year as they recently announced their plans for the annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

As ‘11.11’ continues to grow by the year, Alibaba focused on launching new strategies in the midst of changing consumer behaviors. Strategies include promotion of Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform, ‘doubling’ of shopping windows that will aid in featuring more brands and merchants, consumer reach and promotions, and utilization of livestreaming technology to drive more engagement from customers, especially from Chinese consumers, which has been noted to create the largest international presence to date.

Alibaba’s Alipay digital lifestyle platform aims at connecting almost two million local service providers in China, including micro-merchants such as street stalls and small-scale grocery stores. On the other hand, the company recently launched its Taobao Deals’ “RMB1 Sales” campaign, which aims at encouraging consumers to purchase goods at huge discounts and free shipping. Lastly, in regards to the livestreaming strategies, Alibaba aims to launch a shopping festival concept in Southeast Asia-namely in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam markets.

Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall, expressed his hopes for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, stating that through these innovations, the company hopes to adapt to the changes this year has brought to the consumer market.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer shopping preferences and accelerated digital transformation of many businesses. Through our expansion from ‘single’ to ‘double,’ 11.11 will be offering more opportunities for merchants both online and offline to engage with consumers as well as provide a better consumer experience overall,” Fan stated.