Every year, some of us would head to the shopping malls to check out the mooncake fairs at the atriums before deciding which to buy.
The Covid-19 pandemic means the bustling large-scale mall atrium mooncake fairs no longer take place this year, but you can still get your mooncake fix – online.
Most of this year’s mooncake hustle is happening online, with businesses seeing a surge in the lead-up to the Mid-Autumn Festival on Oct 1.
In addition to their own e-commerce sites, many mooncake purveyors have gone onto multiple online platforms such as Qoo10 and Lazada, which provide the ease of ordering across multiple vendors as well as delivery.
Takashimaya Department Store and Tangs – traditionally known for their annual atrium mooncake fairs – also retail mooncakes online now. Both also have a reduced number of mooncake booths operating within store premises.
Business owners note that since the pandemic hit, consumers have become used to ordering food online, which has helped to boost mooncake sales this year.
Some purveyors are on different platforms to maximise exposure and sales. Neighbourhood bakery Gin Thye, which operates out of Sembawang Road and has built its name as a heritage brand online, is listed on many e-stores including Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, often with differentiated mooncake offerings to stand out in a crowded online marketplace.
It worked with Shopee to create exclusive bundles such as a Snow Skin Premium Bamboo Charcoal Red Prawn Mooncake and White Skin Durian Mochi bundle, which has made up more than 20 per cent of its total sales.
Gin Thye’s e-commerce consultant Alan Siek, 30, says more than half of its mooncake sales are via Shopee. Compared with last year, online sales have increased by 250 per cent, while offline sales have increased by 20 per cent.
Sales for home-grown brand Mdm Ling Bakery “increased three- to fourfold” compared with last year, when it debuted its mooncakes. It is on platforms such as Klook, Pickupp, Shopee, Lazada and Grab.
With sampling not allowed because of the pandemic, Mdm Ling Bakery’s co-founder Evelyn Lim’s strategy is to send samples to existing customers who make online purchases. This has translated into strong sales of her new cookie- inspired flavours such as pink Himalayan salt chocolate almond mooncakes and premium Mao Shan Wang durian mooncakes. She foresees selling out her stock soon.
Indeed, all online platforms have seen an uptick in the number of mooncake merchants selling through their sites, and brisk sales.
E-store Shopee Singapore’s inaugural mooncake fair started last year with about 10 brands, but has expanded to more than 30 brands this year.
Mr Tiger Wang, head of marketing for Shopee Singapore, observes a mix of returning brands such as Gin Thye, Emicakes and Golden Moments as well as newcomers from big-name hotels such as Raffles Hotel and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.
Mooncakefair.com, which was set up in July by Sinpopo Fairs – the sister company of chocolate cake chain Awfully Chocolate – to support fellow mooncake retailers, has also seen more traditional mooncake retailers, such as Tai Chong Kok and Spring Court, selling mooncakes on its online platform for the first time.
Similarly, many more mooncake merchants have listed on Grab this year, says a Grab spokesman, adding that its mooncake sales have tripled from last year.
Other trending flavours this year include snowskin durian mooncakes, along with traditional baked ones that usually have a longer shelf-life.
Mr Jonathan Lim, founder and chief executive of online ordering system Oddle, says traditional baked mooncakes have made up about 80 per cent of sales.
Cantonese restaurant Yan at National Gallery Singapore sold out its mooncakes by the second week of this month.
Due to lower projected sales, it reduced production volume by about 40 per cent, compared with the previous year, says its general manager Shek Chi Kuen, 57.
But it was cheered by the unexpectedly positive online orders. MrShek adds: “We are considering trying out other online platforms to create more merchandising channels for the upcoming gifting season and for our Chinese New Year goodies.”