Singapore retailers score hat trick with mega sales events

Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday live up to hype for many businesses


IT'S officially sale season, and while consumers are happy with the deals they scored from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, retailers are even happier with their takings at the till.

Consumer electronics retailer Gain City, which operates both online and physical stores, told The Business Times it saw a whopping 413 per cent increase in revenue for this year's Black Friday event, compared to that in 2018.

Terence Ang, Gain City's head of digital marketing and e-commerce, said the store's Singles Day sale on Nov 11 clocked the highest ever online sales in a single day.

But this was smashed two weeks later, with Black Friday sales doubling that of Singles Day.

"From Nov 11, we realised people are buying certain types of products; for example, four-door refrigerators were doing well on Nov 11. So we talked to the brand to see if we could enlarge the product range on Nov 29 and it gained a lot of traction from there," Mr Ang said.

Black Friday, an American tradition, is arguably the busiest shopping event of the year in the US. This is then followed by Cyber Monday, which is an online-only event.

In recent years, however, Black Friday has become the day to buy big-ticket items, while Cyber Monday is for smaller tech gadgets.

This was also reflected in Gain City's experience.

"Normally online, hardly that many people buy 65" TVs but this Friday, we saw quite a number, and it surprised us," Mr Ang said, adding that on Monday, items like SONOS speakers and Apple AirPods were sold out "almost immediately that we had to add stocks hourly".

US online retail giant Amazon's Singapore store also reported booming business.

Henry Low, country manager for Amazon Singapore, said: "We saw approximately 84 per cent year-on-year increase for Amazon Singapore's Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales, and a jump of nearly 50 per cent in sales compared to Prime Day 2019, which held the sales record for the largest shopping event in Singapore previously."

For e-commerce player Shopee, Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw consumers leaning towards different product categories.

Zhou Junjie, chief commercial officer of Shopee, said while shoppers bought from all categories during Singles Day sale, the Black Friday sale focused on mobile and gadgets, and Cyber Monday on beauty and personal care products.

The good showing was not only limited to consumer products. Travel booking platform Klook said its Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have grown "significantly" and that there was a "considerable increase" in app traffic during the period even though it did not reveal specific numbers.

Marcus Yong, Klook's regional marketing director, told BT that tickets for attractions and shows and rail and transport in particular saw a greater increase.

For other retailers, however, the proximity of Singles Day may have dampened consumer appetite during Black Friday.

E-commerce platform Qoo10 said while it has seen a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in sales for Black Friday 2019, the numbers were "more modest" compared to Singles Day.

Specifically, Black Friday raked in three times more revenue than a regular day in July, while Singles Day recorded 6.5 times more revenue than a regular day in July. Year on year, total sales from the latter also went up by 10 per cent, Qoo10's general manager Sam Too told BT.

"For the foreseeable future, Singles Day will continue to be the most important period in the e-commerce industry's calendar, particularly in Asia, given that it originated in China. Black Friday and Cyber Monday follow closely behind, and consumers are very cognisant of both events," Mr Too said.

"That said, no one in e-commerce can sustainably depend on a single event like Singles Day," he said, adding that they would need to run small-scale events and promotions throughout the year.

READ MORE: Cyber Monday sales on track to hit US$9.2 billion