South Korea does not celebrate Thanksgiving, but the hot deals at US online retailers during the holiday season are changing the shopping habits of South Koreans who are aggrieved at marked-up prices of locally made and imported goods at hometown stores.
The volume of goods ordered by Korean shoppers from websites overseas has surged in recent years and sales are forecast to set a record high this year above USD1 billion. It remains small compared with retail sales within South Korea, which are forecast at USD243 billion this year, but is expanding at a faster rate.
Put off by snarled city traffic and a shortage of parking, more Indians are shopping for groceries online, helping e-tailers like Bigbasket.com and Localbanya.com turn in profits while supermarkets are struggling.
The online grocers benefit from low overheads, as they store goods in warehouses outside big cities where commercial rents are sky-high. Some like Bigbasket.com can also charge more for certain items than traditional supermarkets, which means even more profits in a country where all food retailers enjoy margins as high as 20 percent on rice and other staples.
The head of Future Group, one of India's largest and most established retailers, admits he can't keep up with web sites like Snapdeal and Flipkart when it comes to spending money to entice shoppers to buy online.
Private investors have poured USD2.3 billion into India's e-commerce companies so far this year, according to consulting firm Technopak, giving them financial firepower to overwhelm shoppers with bargains and deals that brick-and-mortar retailers like Future Group, which runs a host of chains including Future Retail Ltd and Future Lifestyle Fashions, cannot match.
Singles' Day – so named because the date Nov. 11 has four singles (11/11) – was started as an in-joke between university students, but has morphed into China's equivalent of Cyber Monday. Spurred by Alibaba and its network of online retailers, the day has grown from USD7 million in sales in 2009 to over USD5.7 billion last year for Jack Ma's company.
Alibaba's Single's Day sales are expected to hit a new record this year driven by China's burgeoning internet population and a growing number of retailers participating in the event, say analysts.
Held on 11 November, Single's Day – also known as 11/11 – was initially created by young Chinese to celebrate or lament being single, but it has evolved into the biggest 24-hour online shopping event in the world.
Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc has earmarked THB100 million (USD3.1m) for expansion of its e-commerce business in Thailand over the next three years.
The move comes after its Tarad.com e-marketplace showed rapid growth since 2010 after Rakuten paid USD43.4 million in 2009 to acquire 67 percent of Thailand's Tarad Co, owner of Tarad.com.
Just when shopping was getting interesting, the Indian government is getting ready to play spoilsport. A day after Flipkart experienced outrage over failed transactions on its Big Billion Day sale, reports said that the poster boy of Indian e-commerce is likely to face government scrutiny on complaints of predatory pricing.
Zara recently opened an online store in South Korea, which offers online shoppers the same full range of merchandise as that found in high street stores.
The company said items sold online are priced the same as those found in Zara's stores, and customers can choose home delivery or have their purchases sent to a store of their choosing for pick up. New products will be featured twice per week.
Under-fire online fashion retailer Asos is facing growing concerns from its suppliers – some of UK's leading clothing brands – about the discounts it is offering on their products.
Asos relies heavily on selling products from fashion brands including New Look, Karen Millen and Reiss, although it also sells own-brand lines.
It is believed that some of the leading brands are frustrated with the discounts Asos has offered on their clothes, particularly in the run-up to Christmas last year, and have threatened to pull out.
Major online shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. is finalising negotiations to acquire major US cashback shopping site operator Ebates Inc., informed sources said on Saturday.
Rakuten aims to expand its overseas operations, mainly in the United States, through the acquisition of Ebates, the sources said. The deal is estimated to exceed USD1 billion, the sources said.