Singles' Day Wellbeing Market Trends

Squid Game, hybrid working and Singles’ Day: making sense of APAC market trends


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 25, 2021 | 5 min read

The Global View is a monthly briefing from The Drum’s editors and reporters, breaking down trends and developments in markets around the world. Tune into our latest session where Asia Pacific publisher Charlotte McEleny and reporter Shawn Lim join editor Cameron Clarke for a rundown of what’s happening in the APAC market.


Squid Game is Netflix’s most-watched show after hitting 111m views less than a month after its premiere

The recently concluded Singles’ Day, the world’s largest shopping festival, has seen sales increase, but beyond prices and promotions, brands are seeking out new ways of engaging customers such as using shoppertainment and livestreams to retain them in the long run.

“There was also a shift in Alibaba’s strategy as the company moves its attention toward metrics beyond gross merchandise value to also consider sustainability and inclusivity targets this year,” explains Lim.

This is in line with Accenture Interactive’s research that indicates that 73% of consumers in APAC want brands to do more to make it easier for them to buy and consume sustainably.

Lim adds: “Another big event is China’s new personal data law, the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which came into effect on November 1. It is one of the strictest in the world and draws inspiration from Europe’s GDPR.

“Beijing wants to tighten controls on how big tech uses data and curtail how private information is moved overseas, which means that adtech companies doing business in China have new hoops to jump through.”

The team has also noticed the APAC market has become the region for gaming and the metaverse, as there are a lot of mobile-first markets based in APAC, which drives a lot of brands into gaming because it is a creative way to use the small screen.

“But what I think is interesting from a creative standpoint is the growth of NFTs and how that’s kind of bringing together some really interesting creative fields,” says McEleny.

“On the one hand, you have some amazing NFT art shows in APAC – Hong Kong hosted its first digital art fair and had 25,000 people attend – while in Australia we are seeing it appear in Christmas ads. There’s a really lovely piece by TBWA Sydney for property group Vicinity Centres, where it created an installation called NFTrees. Not only is that a great pun, which I appreciate, but it’s a beautiful way of turning online art into something tangible and festive. I think we’ll see more of this blending between the online and physical next year too.”

Looking ahead, Lim reckons it would be interesting to see how hybrid working and the conversation on workplace mental health evolves in 2022 and beyond since APAC is a region where bosses are prone to micro-manage and keep tabs of their employees’ whereabouts.

A recent survey found that more than eight in 10 workers in Singapore who are returning to the office have said that flexible work arrangements are important to them.

“They prefer a flexible working arrangement – close to six in 10 (59%) would prefer a hybrid mix of working in the office and from home; just over two in 10 (21%) would prefer to work from home full time, and two in 10 (20%) would prefer to work in an office full time,” Lim explains.

“For example, Singapore-based telco MyRepublic announced it is introducing flexible hybrid working options and a work-from-anywhere for a month initiative, and a personal wellbeing day once a quarter to allow employees to take time off to recharge, connect and explore their passions.”

McEleny agrees, adding: “APAC is this very innovative, connected region and we have an opportunity to show the world how a new way of working is done, even if we’re forced into it by talent challenges.”

The full video is available above for members of The Drum Plus. Don’t miss analysis of Squid Game, Cop26, social commerce and much more.

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