Less joyful Christmas for retailers this year

Many consumers opting to shop online due to pandemic fears

30 Nov 2020 / 12:29 H.

PETALING JAYA: It may not be a season of joy for retail outlets this year. Santa, jingle bells, big sales, big crowds, big profits – Christmas shopping has always been big business but like everything else this year, it will be anything but typical.

Malaysian Retail Chain Association president Shirley Tay told theSun that Christmas will not be the same this year due to the pandemic.

She added that with many consumers preferring online platforms to purchase Christmas gifts for loved ones, the volume and value of transactions for retail stores are expected to drop compared to last year.

“With the current situation, brick and mortar stores will be severely affected if the fear factor is not removed or reduced.

“Many are confused with the standard operating procedures (SOP) and consumers are reluctant to go out to shop. If clearer SOP are laid down, it will boost consumer confidence and help them get out to enjoy the festivities,” she said.

However, she added that many of these stores have begun to go online where they can continue to market their products and keep sales up.

Tay said it would be hard to compare sales from previous years at the moment because footfall in major shopping malls has dropped about 10% to 15% for the month of November.

“This is when retailers have to be resilient and creative when it comes to planning good sales promotions if they want to attract more customers.

It would serve them well if they can obtain a 60% to 70% increase in sales compared to last year,” she said.

Tay pointed out that shoppers have a tendency to shop, especially during Christmas.

“This is where creativity plays a role in marketing products. Retailers should cater to a joyous, decorative and merry ambience if they want to attract more customers,” she said.

On the other hand, regional managing director of Shopee, Ian Ho, said e-commerce has been an essential service since the start of the pandemic and they have worked hard to meet consumer demand.

“We have seen a strong year-on-year growth. To use our 11.11 Big Sale performance as perspective, we recorded sales of 200 million items on Nov 11, which was almost three-times that of last year’s sales volume of 70 million items sold in 24 hours.

“Seeing that the Christmas shopping period coincides with our 12.12 Birthday Sale, which features great discounts and vouchers, our demand is expected to remain strong,” he added.

Shopee’s 12.12 Birthday Sale will run until Dec 12, with additional perks such as RM12 free shipping and also RM1 deals during the Shocking Sale.

“Shopee has also launched a brand new in-app portal called Shopee Premium, which houses brands such as Pandora, L’Occitane and Kenzo that are available at attractive prices.

“We launch new premium brands every Monday as these items make good Christmas gifts without breaking the bank.”

In addition, Shopee’s Christmas campaign will be from Dec 15 until Dec 19 for those who prefer last-minute shopping.

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