As we head towards the finish line of 2021, the results of the November holiday and peak shopping period are in. With the month including the key retail dates of Click Frenzy, Singles’ Day and Cyber Weekend, Rakuten Advertising network data provides insight into publisher and retail performance, and APAC consumer shopping habits.

Looking at same store results in 2021 vs. 2020, the APAC network saw 20% growth in sales over the month of November. During this time, there is strong consumer demand from across the region for Luxury goods and Apparel & Accessories, with sales increasing by 5% and 24% respectively. Black Friday continues to drive the largest portion of sales over this holiday period and month, with increases in sales (+35%) and clicks (+17%).

While Black Friday growth is consistent across all markets, breaking APAC network data down into Australia versus Asia provides a more accurate overview of performance.

Australia – Black Friday outperforms Singles’ Day and Click Frenzy

In Australia, November 2021 showed strong sales gains. Growth in traffic (+18%) and AOV (+8%) offset a small drop in conversion rate (-1.5%). ​Sales showed consistent YoY growth throughout November, highlighting the trend of continued growth in digital shoppers in 2021, and the shift to earlier holiday shopping in the face of supply and shipping concerns.

Click Frenzy and Singles’ Day again overlapped, and looking at the 3-day period (November 9th – 11th), Click Frenzy outperformed Singles’ Day but overall sales growth was seen across the 3-day period (+27%).

Our network data shows that Australian consumers snagged up more of the best deals early on. AOV growth was 2.7x larger on the first two days of Click Frenzy (+16%) vs. Singles’ Day (+6%). While consumers spent less during Singles’ Day, interest remained strong with click volumes 3x those of the preceding days and orders growing 27% YoY.

Looking at Cyber Weekend, Black Friday remained the top preference for consumers  (+31% sales). COVID-related logistical challenges also saw shifting promotional schedules and sales growth in the days leading into Cyber Weekend, with the Monday and Tuesday before Black Friday driving 41% and 26% sales growth respectively. Consumers were also browsing earlier, with the Sunday and Monday prior to Black Friday showing 1.5x traffic growth vs. Cyber Weekend. Conversion rates remained consistent throughout.

Finally, we saw advertisers investing more into affiliate partnerships to drive sales on key retail dates. Commissions per order growth significantly outpaced the growth of AOV particularly on Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday.

Australia – Retailer Verticals and Publisher Performance

Travel (+223%), Consumer Electronics (+195%) and Pets (133%) were the top growth verticals in Australia in November 2021. Travel sales surpassed 2019’s totals signalling the revival of the industry, and increased consumer confidence. Apparel continues to be the largest contributor to overall network sales, and experienced 22% YOY growth in November. Other leading contributors are Food and Drink (+122%) and Home Improvement (+7%) highlighting that Australian consumers continue to spend in growth verticals that emerged during lockdown periods.

Looking at publisher performance, Loyalty & Rewards, Shopping and Coupon publishers continue to drive the largest portion of sales, and experience YOY growth. The strongest YoY growth was seen from sub-networks (+47%), as advertisers continue to invest in and prioritise content partnerships. It’s important to note that as publishers continue to broaden their offerings, publisher category lines are blurring (cashback sites are incorporating shopping, and coupon publishers are incorporate content, for example).

Asia – Black Friday outperforms Singles’ Day and Cyber Monday

Rakuten Advertising network data shows that in Asia, November sales growth was modest at the beginning of the month. Clicks grew consistently YOY throughout November (+43%), but sales started to show strong YOY growth from the Monday before Cyber Weekend. While interest remained high in Asia, conversion rates (-26%) in Asia have been impacted by stock shortages and logistical challenges, particularly in the Luxury vertical.

Looking at the key retail holidays, Cyber Monday saw the strongest YOY growth (+85%) but sale volumes peaked on Black Friday (+31%). Singles’ Day saw growth across Asia (+8%), but China showed declines in sales (-23%) and AOV (-22%) reflecting weaker demand and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

Strong YOY growth was also seen in the days leading into Cyber Weekend with consumers aware of shipping delays and taking advantage of earlier retailer promotions.

Asia – Retailer Verticals and Publisher Performance

In Asia, the top growth verticals for November were Travel (+991%), Consumer Goods & Electronics (+215%) and Jewellery (+59%). The rebound in international and domestic travel sales reflects eased restrictions across the region and increased confidence as we head towards the holiday period. Luxury and Apparel & Accessories remained the top performing verticals. Despite logistical challenges for many international retailers in Asia, Luxury sales growth remained consistent YoY (+2%), and growth in Apparel & Accessories (+27%) was dominated by athletic and streetwear sub-verticals reflecting shifting consumer trends.

The top performing publishers in November for Asia were Loyalty & Rewards, Shopping and Coupons, although Coupon publishers overall experienced a drop in sales of 25%. Conversely, stellar growth from Sub-networks (+55%) was largely driven by Luxury advertisers continuing to prioritise content-based publishers. Sub-network growth has also been fuelled by increasing trust and visibility with brands, achieved through better transparency and cooperation.

Loyalty & Rewards continues to dominate the shopping landscape in Asia, and in 2021 became increasingly popular through the rise of Card-Linked Offers in market.

For more insights into APAC network performance during November, contact us or reach out to your Rakuten Advertising representative.