Online shoppers all set for Singles Day frenzy

11.11 sale has become the largest shopping event here with prices cut by at least half on many sites

Bride-to-be Lynn Yang has been planning for this year's Singles Day sale for the past five months.

Come tonight, the 26-year-old will be seated in front of her laptop with credit cards ready, so that at the stroke of midnight she can begin her online shopping spree.

The avid shopper and founder of creative agency, Project WXY, is getting married next year and intends to buy items for the big day on Alibaba-owned shopping site, Taobao.

These include invitations, decorations, wedding favours, dresses for her bridesmaids and flower girls and four custom-made gowns for herself.

While this might sound like a lot, buying the items during the sale will mean big savings of at least 50 per cent.

For example, Ms Yang's four gowns will cost less than $2,000 in total and her custom acrylic invites will cost $1.50 a piece rather than $6.

Ms Yang said: "It's definitely the biggest sales day of the year for me. The deals and discounts are usually the best."

Items that she has got from previous Singles Day sales include kitchenware, bedding, accessories, and electronics.

She even bought an $80 wedding gown for a photo shoot in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, last year.

"Though I got it online, the dress was of good quality and since it was more affordable, I was not worried about trekking through the valley in it," she said.

Ms Lynn Yang is getting married next year and intends to buy items for the big day on Alibaba-owned shopping site, Taobao. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Like Ms Yang, many shoppers are looking forward to the Singles Day sale, which has become the largest shopping event in Singapore with prices cut by at least half on many sites.

Conceived by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in the late 2000s, the annual sales day, also called the 11.11 sale, now rakes in billions for participating companies.

Last year, Alibaba logged 168.3 billion yuan (S$32.7 billion) in sales in just 16 hours on Singles Day.

A recent report by advertising platform Criteo found that the 11.11 sale is the largest shopping event in Singapore, surpassing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • How to get the best out of Singles Day

  • 1 DO YOUR RESEARCH

    Take some time to browse through your favourite shopping sites and compare prices. Many e-commerce sites will start listing 11.11 sale prices a week or so before the actual day.

    Place the items that you might want to buy into your online shopping carts. This will help you shortlist your preferred items and make the buying process quicker when Nov 11 comes around.

    2 TAKE TO SOCIAL MEDIA 

    Make sure to follow your favourite brands and websites on their various social media platforms so that you can keep up to date on their latest flash deals and promotion codes.

    Some brands will also have newsletters that you can sign up for that will let you know if there are additional promotional codes that can be used during the sale.

    3 DON'T GET CARRIED AWAY 

    While the many deals and discounts online can be very tempting, be cautious about giving out your credit card details.

    Shop only on reputable websites and mobile apps. A good way to check if a site is reliable is to run a simple Google search on it and read available reviews and feedback.

The report said the 11.11 sale last year saw a 368 per cent increase in online retail sales and 255 per cent increase in online retail traffic - compared with the respective increases of 114 per cent and 83 per cent during Black Friday, the next biggest shopping event here.

Physical retailers here, such as Tangs, Ikea and Courts, have also jumped on the bandwagon in recent years. For example, Courts is offering deals in stores and online this year with up to 85 per cent off for furniture, IT gadgets and appliances.

E-commerce players, such as cashback platform Shopback, and online retailers Lazada, Shopee and Zalora are also expecting big things from the sale.

Lazada has seen a huge jump in staff numbers - close to 200 per cent more personnel have been added to their warehouses in Singapore - while manpower at the company's last-mile service has been increased by 50 per cent for Singles Day.

A Lazada Singapore spokesman said: "We expect another record-breaking performance for 11.11 this year. We have more than double the number of active sellers participating in this year's sale, and more than 50 million vouchers to be collected by consumers."

Last year, Lazada received 1.2 million orders within the first hour of the sale.

E-commerce platforms are also stepping up engagement efforts with in-app live-streaming shows and games created to drive more sales.

Ms Pauline Lemaire, director of account strategy - large customers at Criteo South-east Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, said more firms are engaging in "shopper-tainment".

"These forms of shopper-tainment allow brands and e-commerce players who do not have a physical shop to interact with their users and get them to buy more."

Shopback chief commercial officer Candice Ong said the platform has created a new game called Cashback Troopers for 11.11 this year. Players have to score points to stand a chance to win discount vouchers.

Since the start of the month, Lazada has also held daily activities with various games, which enable users to earn vouchers.

The popularity of 11.11 is in line with the rapid growth of the digital economy in South-east Asia.

A report by Temasek, Google and Bain & Company, released last month, said the region's digital economy is expected to grow to US$300 billion (S$408 billion) by 2025, three times its current annual value.

 
 
 

In Singapore, online sales typically make up about 5 to 6 per cent of overall retail sales.

Figures from the Department of Statistics showed that overall retail sales came in at around $3.6 billion in August, with online retailers making up an estimated 5.5 per cent of this figure.

For shoppers, it all boils down to getting the best deals.

Public relations consultant Ashleigh Ow, 31, said he is looking to buy electronics and shoes during the sale, and hopes to get discounts of about 30 per cent.

He already has 18 items saved in his online shopping carts and wish lists.

Even though Mr Ow will be participating in a friend's wedding as a groomsman tomorrow, he is confident he will have time to shop.

"Of course I will prioritise my friend's wedding and help him with whatever I can. But shopping will be easy since I can just buy on my phone."

The sale, he said, is just too good to miss.

"There is so much hype around it and so many brands have jumped in on it. So the pricing is very competitive and there are discounts for everyone, which is great for consumers like me."