Shopees are no strangers to Singaporeans. Even if they have never bought anything from the ecommerce website, they must have seen Shopee's iconic orange ads or heard the catchy marketing jingles.
There's a good reason why Shopee has so many customers: you can buy a wide range of products from the platform, from home appliances to fashion clothes to groceries.
In addition to pure shopping, Shopee also offers various in-app entertainment options such as the live streaming function “Shopee Live” and the interactive game show “Shopee Quiz”.
When Shopee first launched in 2015, Lazada was already the leading e-commerce platform in the region.
In the second quarter of 2020, however, it quickly developed from a newcomer to the most visited e-commerce platform in Singapore.
According to Statista, Shopee recorded around 14.1 million online visitors in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In 2017 Sea e-commerce had sales of S $ 24.08 million. By 2019 it had increased almost 50 times to S $ 1.12 billion.
We take a look at Shopee's milestones and how it has grown from a young e-commerce platform to one of the leading players in Southeast Asia (SEA).
2015 to 2016: The early days of Shopee
Forrest Li, founder of Shopee's parent company Sea Limited / Photo credit: Guru Gamer
Sea Limited – the parent company of Shopee – was founded in 2009 and only entered e-commerce in 2015 with the introduction of Shopee.
At that time there were already many competitors in the region such as Lazada, Qoo10, Taobao and Ezbuy.
However, management took a leap in confidence and launched Shopee in seven markets – Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Shopee pursued a different strategy early on, starting as an app to initially use the high penetration rate of SEA for mobile devices.
According to a study by Google and Temasek, the average use of mobile internet by SEA is highest in the regions (3.6 hours per person per day).
Because of this, from the start, Shopee immediately focused on optimizing user experience and engagement across mobile devices. Its mobile-first approach enables it to capitalize on the expected continued growth in mobile subscriber penetration.
2017: The introduction of the Shopee Mall
Photo credit: Vulcan Post
In 2017, the Shopee Mall was launched across the region.
The portal is separate from the regular Shopee market and offers access to thousands of products from over 200 top sellers and brands such as 3M, L’Oreal, Philips and Adidas.
According to a media statement, due to the increasing need for brands, the Shopee Mall was designed to offer Singaporeans an optimized online shopping experience.
It also supports larger brands that are taking an omni-channel approach and looking to reach new customer bases.
The introduction of the Shopee Mall is an important step for us to establish Shopee as an industry leader and platform from a single source that meets all of our customers' needs.
As we expand our B2C efforts, customers can now conveniently shop from hundreds of leading brands.
– Zhou Junjie, Country Head of Shopee Singapore.
Shopee now has more than 11,000 Shopee Mall sellers in its seven markets.
2018: New introduction, BLACKPINK as regional ambassador
Photo credit: Jakarta Globe
In 2018, Shopee launched the China Marketplace portal, which gives shoppers easy access to products from Chinese retailers with no shipping and brokerage fees in Singapore.
The new marketplace opened the doors to an expanded selection of affordable and high quality products from China.
The platform also offers sellers in China the opportunity to take advantage of Shopee's thriving retail ecosystem in Singapore.
Photo credit: Digital News Asia
The China Marketplace offers millions of offers in various categories such as women's fashion, home & living and children's fashion and offers customers access to top Chinese brands.
In May 2018, Shopee also started its first Super Brand Day in Indonesia with P&G as a partner.
Photo credit: Marketing Interactive
During Super Brand Day, Shopee typically offers customers exclusive deals, cashback options, and promotions for select brands. Since then, 70 Super Brand Days have been organized in the region.
Shopee is also known for its ability to bring popular brand ambassadors on board.
In 2018, Shopee announced the Korean idol group BLACKPINK as a regional brand ambassador. The group was previously hailed as the best Korean female actress in history by Billboard.
The announcement coincided with Shopee's 12/12. Birthday sale together that ran a two-week advertising campaign.
This year, Shopee's gross merchandise value also reached $ 10 billion, with over 600 million transactions on the platform.
2019: New sales milestones, Cristiano Ronaldo comes on board
After Shopee won BLACKPINK as the first regional brand ambassador, he brought the Portuguese professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo on board.
Photo credit: Marketing Interactive
As part of the partnership, Ronaldo starred in Shopee's 9.9 television commercial. It premiered in August 2019 and aired in all Shopee markets.
The soccer star danced to a remix of the viral nursery rhyme Baby Shark while swiping Shopee's mobile app in the company's ad campaign.
Fans in the region were also able to get up close and personal with the soccer star through a range of exclusive content only available on Shopee Live.
The 9.9 shopping event with Cristiano Ronaldo and Baby Shark recorded three times more orders than last year.
This year, Shopee has seen a total of 500 million views of Shopee Live and over a billion games of its in-app games.
During his 12.12. On its birthday sale in December, Shopee sold 80 million items in a single day.
The new six-story regional headquarters in the Singapore Science Park has officially opened.
The office extends over 244,000 square meters and offers space for 3,000 employees. It is six times the size of its previous headquarters in the Ascent Building.
2020: a significant year of growth
With much of the retail sector hard hit due to Covid-19 restrictions and bans in 2020, e-commerce experienced an unprecedented boom.
As more and more merchants and consumers went online, Shopee saw user numbers grow by 82 percent from Q1 through Q2 2020 and averaged nearly another five million visitors.
The increase in the number of visits may also have been due to the heavy promotion efforts from initiatives such as the 4.4 Flash Sale and Super Mart Month during the breaker period.
Shopee's revenue was $ 842.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, 178.3 percent higher than last year.
This included market sales of $ 627.6 million, an increase of 175.4 percent over the previous year. and product revenue of $ 214.6 million, up 187.1 percent year over year.
Shopee's Ecommerce Growth in Q4 2020 / Image Credit: Sea
It was also the third most downloaded app worldwide in the shopping category for 2020 as a whole.
In addition, Shopee took first place in YouGov's “Best APAC Buzz Rankings 2020” and eighth place in YouGov's “Best Global Brands 2020”.
It is one of the only two e-commerce brands in the top 10 of YouGov's global brand rankings.
What's next for Shopee?
With a young and large population of 650 million people, SEA has been known as the fastest growing internet region in the world in recent years.
A joint study by Google and Temasek Holdings last year predicted that SEA's digital economy will triple to $ 240 billion by 2025.
As the main driver of this economy, e-commerce is expected to have a gross merchandise value of $ 102 billion in 2025 as well.
This offers Shopee a breeding ground for opportunities. In 2020, the company continued to top the shopping category for active monthly users in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
In addition to its market functions, the company is also moving in the direction of other functions, which indicates a possible network expansion.
For example, in 2019 Shopee began providing credit to sellers through Sea's Sea Money payment section.
In addition, Sea received a digital banking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore last year. This will likely give Shopee more points of collaboration with its dealers.
These networks Shopee built can be a virtuous cycle that could allow them to invest more in customer service and fulfillment, and to attract more customers.
Selected image source: Inside Retail Asia