Reviewed: Bestsellers by Key Categories Spotted in Southeast Asia

This report covers the bestsellers of key categories from the largest online retailers in Southeast Asia. Trending colours and prints and SKU sizes were used to measure consumers' favourite items from key categories.

Written by Nikolai PrettnerNovember 21, 2018


The e-commerce market in Southeast Asia was worth US$10.9 billion in 2017 and will reach US$88.1 billion by 2025, based on the latest report released by Google and Singapore sovereign fund, Temasek.


Source: e-Conomy SEA Spotlight 2017, Google/ Temasek



Millions of data points were screened daily for the time period of 1st Jan to 30th Jun 2018, also commonly identified as Spring/Summer season for Southeast Asia. Interfaced with Omnilytics data analytics solution, we attribute the measure of bestsellers based on sell-out rate, replenishment rate, discount rate and discount depth on the data collected.


Market x Category Segments

This report analysed data extracted from ten of the largest e-retailers across Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, namely Zalora, ASOS, H&M, Berrybenka, NEXT, Shein, Forever 21, Topshop, Zara and Fashion Valet, and for key Spring/Summer 2018 categories of Women’s Tops, Dresses and Shoes.


Data Size

The number of SKUs ranged from at least 14,723 SKUs for Fashion Valet to the most at 414,838 SKUs for Zalora.


Executive Summary

This season’s bestsellers mainly derived from Zalora, ASOS, NEXT and H&M, out of the pool of the top ten largest e-retailers in Southeast Asia, with a combined sell-out rate of 63% on average from the period of 1st Jan to 30th Jun 2018.


Micro Trending

A few trends have had extended lifecycle from Fall/Holiday season, namely Floral Embroidery, Cold Shoulders and White Trainers, while new trends spotted this season:

Prints – fruit designs were popular, mostly represented in cami tops and dresses, while floral print remained evident.

Smocked tops and maxi dresses – consumers’ favourites as these are effortless to style from day to evening, with ruched and button front details.

Sliders and espadrilles – returned to the season this year in a big way, but in a less dramatic interpretation across our Southeast Asia e-retailers, as compared to the glam and embellished versions hyped by the media/influencers.


Colours in Perspective

While the application of seasonal bold colours gained prominence and hype, Black, White and Blue remain a staple favourite, commanding the most width across assortments amongst our ten e-retailers.


Markdown Activations

The most common discount range identified for the key three categories analysed, namely Women’s Tops, Dresses and Shoes, fell in the bracket of 40% – 50%, showing palatable markdown activations, less aggressive than the second half of the year where major discounting would be driven by Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Singles’ Day.

Having said that,  this Spring/Summer was certainly not short of  happenings. In addition to newness launch, a string of key events also took place – special campaigns over Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, as well as festive promotions over Lunar New Year and EID.

Fast fashion retailers are also known to apply different markdown strategies, across categories. Retailers such as Berrybenka and Forever 21 launched very aggressive markdowns to drive sales with over 60% of SKUs on average 50% off. ASOS also had large numbers of SKUs on discount but at modest 30% – 34% off.

Zalora was championing Tops with the least discounting but more aggressive on Dresses and Shoes. Meanwhile, Fashion Valet had the least number of SKUs on discount, which could signal a successful assortment for the season.

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Trade Overview: Women’s Top

Topshop, Zara, NEXT and ASOS, The Category Leaders

Topshop, Zara, NEXT and ASOS led the Tops category, with replenishment rates 20% higher than average and median prices above the USD 25 mark.

Topshop stood out being one of the top brands that replenished well with low sell-out rate and high median selling price. All the metrics seemed to point out a successful assortment for the season.

FashionValet also performed well, addressing efficiently the dynamic market of Muslimah premium tops.

Berrybenka and Forever 21 fell behind, with the lowest replenishment rate, and low median prices at USD 9 and USD 11 respectively.

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Bestsellers: Women’s Tops

Fruit Prints

No pattern has come to define the Summer of 2018 quite like the fruit prints. Tops in the “happy and fresh” vibes were popular amongst our selected e-retailers, with sell-out rates higher than average. Among all fruits, the pineapple, in particular, was a top favourite : “ASOS Brave Soul Pineapple Shirt” pictured was replenished 22 times in 4 months, in all sizes.

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Smocked Tops

This season, Smocked Tops returned in a big way, after a brief introduction last summer, and are loved by fashionistas all over the globe including Jane Chuck, one of the top social media influencers from Malaysia.

On the retail front, “H&M Smocked Off-The-Shoulder Top” was replenished 16 times since its launch in May. “Zalora Smocked Lace Crop Top” was replenished 8 times in the month of June alone, proving that the style need not be “teenie-weenie” as glorified in the West, to win in Southeast Asia.

Amongst the retailers analysed, Zara’s smocked tops were leading, with replenishment rate at 4 percentage points higher than the average of total Tops.

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Button Fronts

Undeniably, the button-front style was a statement everywhere for the first half of this year. A simple but effective trend, adorning tops, dresses and trousers alike. Oversized and prominent, these buttons were made for bold impact.

ASOS, Zalora and Topshop showcased button front tops as their bestsellers. “ASOS Button Front Sun Top” in White was the crowd’s favourite, as it ran out-of-stock and was replenished more than 30 times in just 3 months!

This trend was also versatile as seen across styles, on casual Camis and Cold Shoulders, to smart Boxy Shirts.

content image-5 Reviewed: Bestsellers by Key Categories Spotted in Southeast Asia

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