How can we help?


How to Increase Your ROAS During the Year-end Online Shopping Season in APAC

Posted on October 1, 2019

Year-end shopping season is incredibly relevant for APAC - there are big online shopping campaigns across the region spanning the last four months of the year. 11.11 Singles’ Day is especially relevant all over the region. This makes it the best time to spur your online sales with app retargeting campaigns.

All over Asia, having a well-thought mobile strategy for your eCommerce app during these year-end sales galore will bring long term rewards, and retargeting is a crucial piece in that direction.

A retargeting campaign catered for this particular shopping season will get you the most results and the best ROI. It is time to make customers familiar with your shopping app and re-engaged with the right offers by adding some advanced retargeting techniques to your current marketing strategy. Let’s look at how you can do it.

Year-end sales in APAC: big competition, big gains

For e-commerce in APAC, the last quarter of the year is a critical time to plan and execute retargeting campaigns because of the significant online sales periods happening from September to December.

Year-end sales in Asia have migrated across borders and gone beyond single campaign days. The biggest sales are celebrated across several mobile stores and became an entirely new shopping phenomenon.

  • 11.11 Singles’ Day is the primary campaign in China thanks to the Alibaba-backed Taobao but not only. 11.11 shopping madness has spread across Asia and is now supported by several other online businesses.

  • Along with 11.11, Southeast Asia also sees excellent shopping traction during 9.9, 10.10, and 12.12 mostly due to the influence of eCommerce heavyweights like Lazada and Shopee.

  • In India, Diwali season (around October end or beginning of November as dates may vary) means gifting and online shopping.

  • For Indonesia, we can’t ignore the relevance of Harbolnas on 12 December.

Competition is fierce, and everyone is looking to use this period to close the year with incremental results. Due to these circumstances, ad costs usually rise by 25% during this period. Despite the rise in ad costs, this is still an excellent time to maximize your results.

Let’s look at these most significant sales periods in the different in Asia with more detail and see how you can use retargeting to make the most of this year-end.

Main year-end shopping events across APAC

China and the influence of Singles’ Day

The eCommerce market in China is expected to grow by 41% by 2022, reaching USD$1.78 trillion, and its most famous shopping event is 11.11 Singles’ Day. This campaign reaches far and wide, and its growing influence confirms that this shopping day has the potential to eclipse the other big sales in the West, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

As a result of Singles ‘Day’s expansion, numerous online businesses around the world are marking the date and preparing campaigns to target their customers during this period.

In 2018, more than 180,000 brands participated in Singles Day, with over 40% of consumers making purchases from international brands. Two hundred thirty countries and regions completed transactions with Japan, the USA, South Korea, Australia, and Germany being the top-selling countries outside of China.

In the domestic market, Chinese consumers are ready and eager for seamless online retail experiences. However, it is China’s focus on outbound business that makes it super relevant for shopping apps to focus on retargeting - and working on better localization.

The recent years’ focus on expanding e-commerce, particularly to countries and regions taking part in China’s Belt and Road Initiative makes it pertinent to invest in a targeted retargeting campaign to drive revenue growth. Conditions are ripe for Chinese online businesses to expand their ROAS.


Despite being a small country, territory-wise, Singapore abounds in opportunities. The online commerce ecosystem in Singapore is set to increase by 48% by 2022 to USD$7.4billion. Reports show desktop sales stagnant, but mobile is growing at 13% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Mobile commerce is on track to surpass desktop sales in 2019, at which point it will make up 52% of all online transactions.

The top shopping events for the Singaporean market are 9.9, 10.10, 11.11 and 12.12, driven by a multitude of online merchants, Shopee, Lazada, Taobao, Qoo10, among many others. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas sales are still relevant in this context, although smaller in total revenue generated when compared with the previous dates.


Consumers in India have found eCommerce to be inconvenient in the past but is changing with mobile commerce adoption getting traction and more straightforward payment methods such as eWallets made available.

India’s eCommerce market is predicted to increase by 116% between now and 2022, reaching USD$94.9 billion – a 21% CAGR. Mobile is the fastest-growing channel at 28% CAGR. Mobile commerce is on track to exceed desktop in 2020, projected to make up 52 % of sales.

The most relevant year-end sales campaigns in India happen ahead and during the Hindu festivals of Dussehra and Diwali, when Indians tend to make big-ticket purchases. These sales festivals are driven mostly by and the Walmart-owned, Flipkart.


Indonesia hot online shopping scene heats up at the end of the year with Harbolnas, its own ‘‘National Online Shopping Day’’, initially promoted by Lazada and now supported by other online merchants like Shopee, Zalora, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, among others. Harbolnas is celebrated on 12 December as a collaborative way to encourage Indonesian consumers to shop online. In 2018, this major sale was able to record transactions of up to Rp 6.8 trillion in two days.

Mother’s Day, known as ‘‘Hari Ibu’’, is also celebrated on 22 December and a day to note. On this day, Indonesians usually send gifts, flowers, and greeting cards to mothers and wives and it is an important day for any app merchants selling women’s fashion, cosmetics, and other typical gift items.


Vietnam is one of the few markets in Southeast Asia where the local players have as much traction as the regional giants, such as Lazada. Retail eCommerce in the country is expected to make $10 billion revenue by 2020, and its landscape has been developing at a growth rate of 30% a year as businesses slowly shift from offline to online.

The relevant Vietnamese shopping apps such as TheGioiDiDong, Sendo, and Tiki run their major year-end sales during 11.11, Black Friday, and throughout December.


The eCommerce market in Thailand is currently the second-largest in Southeast Asia and is expected to grow around 22% annually until 2020. The value of Thai e-commerce grew 14% in 2018, reaching $102.13 million, according to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency.

As for relevant shopping sales dates, Thailand follows the trend in SouthEast Asia with 9.9 spurring sales due to the big names in online shopping such as Lazada, Shopee,, 11street, 11.11, 12.12 online revolution.

A busy year-end bearing ample possibilities for app marketers

In APAC, consumers are ever more keen on exploring eCommerce apps, with sign up rates growing and acquisition costs dropping year-over-year. However, user acquisition isn’t enough. As the mobile app economy matures, mobile marketers should shift their focus towards re-engagement and retention.

Studies show that, after registration, it takes around seven days for the retention rate to drop to 14%, and this week’s period offers a big enough opportunity window for app marketers to design engaging campaigns to retarget customers and reignite interest. Moreover, although users might browse, register accounts and add to cart with ease, reports show a significant drop-off when it comes to the actual purchase. APAC’s cost-per-first-purchase comes in at an average of US$31.26, coupled with a low 10.1% conversion rate. Reminders and incentives to purchase are needed.

To tackle the year-end sales season, September/October is the perfect time to prepare to surpass last year’s results with retargeting campaigns. Plan your campaigns before that actual sale period is set to start.

Why start early? Customers enjoy doing “window shopping” even if it is a virtual one. They will browse shopping apps to search for products and good deals. Raising awareness about your upcoming deals and reminding users to return and complete the purchase it is the answer to increasing your conversion rates.

Shopping apps should make the most of this time to renew the users’ interest by serving ads to anyone who has been to the app and left, to users who added to cart and left or people who have spent time browsing on specific product pages.

APAC Blogimg Timeline

Win at the year-end sales period

Here are a few retargeting tactics and best practices to consider this shopping season so you can scoop extra sales and keep your app users engagement throughout the campaign period.

  • Prevent lapsing

It is essential to re-engage users with abandoned carts with specific offers such as exclusive discounts. The reason being, it’s safe to assume that your customer didn’t simply “forget” they had an item in their cart; they most likely navigated away in search of a better deal.

  • Don’t just retarget lapsed users

Many apps rely on retargeting solely to win back customers who have stopped using their apps. While it’s critical to re-engage lapsed users, it’s equally as essential to prevent app users from lapsing in the first place.

While retention rates vary by how app users were initially acquired, that first week is a crucial time to retarget users, pull them back into your app, and keep them engaged. Use also that first week to retarget your high-value customers and get them to accelerate spend as well as increase basket sizes. You can achieve this by creating special offers or early-bird rates for your most loyal customers.

  • Prepare for an increase in media costs.

Advertising costs tend to go up during this big ‘campaign’ period as advertisers ramp up their spending. Evaluate your budget as you may want to increase some bids and campaign caps to make sure your efforts get traction. Targeting and audience segmentation also becomes a focal point to get the best ROAS from your big sales day campaign.

  • Catered messages and personalized creatives.

Create gift guides, recommend alternatives and add-ons to the cart, make sure your creatives are suitable for your ad campaign and that they stand out. Competition is fierce, and your ad will need to cut through the noise. Dynamic product ads allow you to serve ads featuring products shoppers are most likely to be interested in.

  • Start early, don’t wait for the eve of the primary campaign day.

Starting early allows you to create more awareness and give your users a chance to get inspired and start adding to the cart ahead of the leading sales period. Done right, the ramp-up to holiday advertising can be as critical as the holidays themselves. Advertisers can leverage retargeting,

  • Keep your eyes on the results throughout the campaign

Don’t wait to find out the results after the campaign ends. Your measuring efforts should start right off the bat. There is immense opportunity in knowing how your campaign is performing all along because you can gather insights and optimize as you go.

  • Make the most of your Account Manager’s knowledge

Create the ideal retargeting campaign for this period by reaching out to your trusted Account Manager. There is a reason why you engage a retargeting partner and that is to leverage on their expertise and experience with past campaigns.

Discuss your goals and targets with your Account Manager, and she will be able to best advise and assist you in creating a catered ad strategy for this year-end. Retargeting ads work better when you set the right strategy as a team.

Retargeting ads are your best friend during this busy time of year.

While inventory will get more expensive during November and December, the ad costs haven’t risen to their max yet. This is a perfect time to start testing and optimizing your retargeting campaigns to gather the insights you need to achieve full potential during your key sales.

Remerge is your trusted and transparent app retargeting partner. We have the in-house technology, industry knowledge, and expertise to ensure maximum performance and scale for your monetization and re-engagement campaigns.

Contact us today at to find out how you can build a highly customized retargeting strategy while keeping your data safe.

Marta Gaspar

Marta Gaspar

Content Marketing Manager APAC | Remerge

Marta is a content strategist and digital marketer with 8 years of experience turning ideas into prose for media agencies, online travel, e-commerce, and ad-tech companies. At Remerge, she works closely with our APAC teams to create engaging content about app retargeting and mobile marketing. When she isn’t in our Singapore office, she is reviewing books and practicing Aikido.

Connect on LinkedIn