Weaker demand for online CNY bazaars, but organisers, vendors press on
Organisers say the events are still engaging and it is important to invest in online strategies
With the cancellation of Chinatown's Chinese New Year bazaar this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online editions have sprouted up for the first time to keep the festive cheer - and small businesses - going.
Even though these digital events are not attracting big crowds or achieving ideal sales targets, organisers and vendors are taking it in their stride.
Local tech company Delegate's CNY bazaar ran last Friday to Sunday amid an immersive 3D environment that drew 3,000 visitors.
Through this interactive format, shoppers engaged with brands and took part in lucky draws and virtual photo booths.
Its best-performing categories were CNY Home Bakers and Goodies, and Catering, and popular items sold were homemade festive snacks.
Ms Melissa Lou, chief executive and co-founder of Delegate, told The New Paper: "We were hoping to give local businesses another avenue to promote and raise awareness for their CNY products and services.
"And it is definitely more engaging than just regular online shopping."
Among the 30 vendors at Delegate's bazaar was Japan-centric e-grocer MoguShop.
Its co-founder Rebecca Kwan said even though visitor numbers were "lower than expected", she appreciated being part of this new initiative.
She added: "Seeing how Covid-19 is still so prevalent, virtual events could be the next big thing or new normal. We will probably be keen on doing this again, hopefully with better insights as to what works best for us."
Social enterprise Promonade.sg's inaugural virtual CNY fair kicked off on Dec 28 and runs till Feb 26, featuring about 15 home-based businesses. It has reached more than 18,000 people so far.
Promonade.sg's marketing and sponsorship manager Vincent Ong told TNP: "So far, we are underperforming (in terms of sales), even though key opinion leaders and professional chefs who have tasted the products gave good reviews and feedback."
Earlier this month, hawkers at Chinatown Complex went digital to boost sales of their CNY goods by joining a pilot e-store organised by the Chinatown Complex Hawkers' Association.
Mr Kenneth Pao, executive managing director (Asia- Pacific) of Internet advertising company Criteo, feels it is still important to invest in online strategies.
"Retailers, bazaar organisers and vendors must recognise that traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year will not remain immune to the advent of technology, especially during the ongoing pandemic," he said.
"They will need to pivot to these changes, especially since consumers are growing more inclined to buying online."