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Singapore’s Hottest eCommerce Shopping Events

Benedict Leong

Singapore’s Hottest eCommerce Shopping Events

Singapore Major eCommerce Shopping Events

Despite being a Little Red Dot, Singapore is a major eCommerce market in Southeast Asia. This city-state with a population of roughly 5.7 million1 people has the highest average annual revenue per user of consumer goods eCommerce2 in the region, at US$1,037. The country also has an exceptional mobile subscription penetration rate3 of 148.8 per cent, making locals ever-connected to the digital world.

High credit card usage and openness to mobile wallets have also eased the adoption of online shopping in the country. The country also has among the best logistics infrastructure4 in the world, making it attractive for eCommerce operations within Southeast Asia.

Culturally, shopping is often considered a national pastime5 in Singapore. This propensity for consumerism has led to a relatively mature online shopping market, which now includes niche eCommerce platforms. For example, the country’s top eCommerce players6 include timepiece seller SkyWatches7 and e-furniture site FortyTwo.8

That means eCommerce merchants from outside the country would do well to be present in both major marketplaces, such as Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10, and in relevant specialty platforms.

Singapore’s Major Online Shopping Days

Singles’ Day (11.11)

Lazada’s Singles’ Day sale, held on November 11 every year, has undoubtedly taken Southeast Asia by storm with Singapore being no exception. Interest in the sale has been soaring in the past couple of years. From 2016 to 2017, online sales in Singapore during 11.11 rose by 60 per cent.9 Comparing Singles’ Day 2017 to the same day in subsequent years, iPrice Group observed an uptick in shopping activity in 201810 and an increase in basket size in 2019.11

Lazada isn’t the only platform that holds this sale, although it did garner 59 per cent of search queries10 related to “11.11 promo” in 2018. Platforms such as Qoo10, Shopee, Zalora, and Klook also received significant shopping interest during the sale. Local platform Ezbuy notes that its sales tend to increase by 50 to 100 times12 during Singles’ Day compared to the rest of the year.

Looking for a reliable shipping partner to help you ship to Singapore during events like Single’s Day or Chinese New Year? Janio’s wide network and flexible B2C and B2B shipping solutions provide tailor-made solutions to fit your company’s unique needs. Contact our supply chain experts for your free consultation below!

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The weekend after Thanksgiving is a major shopping period, with Singaporeans looking to both overseas and local eCommerce platforms to find good deals. While these sales originated in the USA, they have become increasingly known globally. A survey of Singaporeans showed that 82 per cent of respondents13 knew about the Black Friday sale, and 49 per cent intended to participate in the sale in 2018.

Amazon is a popular option for buying discounted items from the USA, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (In 2017, the eCommerce giant acknowledged its local popularity by offering Prime membership for Singapore.) Local retailers also hold sales, both within their offline stores and on their websites. According to the Business Times14 , Amazon Singapore reported an approximately 84 per cent year-on-year increase for Amazon Singapore’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In the same report, Qoo10 saw triple the revenue on Black Friday compared to a regular day, although it still isn’t as high as 11.11.

Shopback’s 2018 survey15 showed that the average Singaporean spends between S$190 to S$214 on Black Friday, with a preference for clothes, electronics, and shoes. Picodi16 places a more conservative value, between S$161 to S$172, in their 2019 survey. Nevertheless, these values are still higher than Singapore’s average basket size of S$9117 outside of these promotional periods. Prices were marked down by an average of 55 per cent globally, and 53 per cent in Singapore.

In 2017, Qoo10 reported a total sales value of $10.1 million15 during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend—a 50 per cent increase compared to the previous year. ShopBack, a cashback site, saw higher average spending during the same weekend compared to Singles’ Day. This is partly due to the fact that more international merchants participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to Singles’ Day, and partly due to more consumers participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to Singles’ Day. Picodi’s 2019 survey data16 revealed that amongst shoppers that participated in one of the November shopping holidays, 47 per cent participated in both 11.11 and Black Friday sales, and 37 per cent participated in Black Friday sales only. Consumers’ shopping basket sizes also tend to be higher for these international merchants.

From this info, eCommerce merchants would benefit in targeting customers with promotional campaigns from the 11.11 to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.

Looking for more insights like these? Check out our Guide to eCommerce in Singapore for more!

Great Singapore Sale  

Singapore has held the month-long Great Singapore Sale (GSS) annually since 1994.18 From mom-and-pop stores to major chains and international brands, retailers across Singapore participate in the sale, offering discounts that can come up to 70 per cent of the original prices.

Of course, eCommerce platforms and online merchants have jumped on the bandwagon. GSS is no longer the exclusive domain of offline retailers. In fact, in 2018, Lazada went the extra mile by holding GSS pre-sale and a GSS Last Chance sale, aside from the main event.

Discounted electronic goods are among the most coveted items during GSS.

While GSS typically runs from June to July, last year saw an extended sale period in celebration of the event’s 25th anniversary. GSS 2018 ran from June 8 to August 12. However, while eCommerce platforms performed well during GSS last year, reports of lacklustre sales in brick-and-mortar stores have prompted GSS organisers to consider revamping the format.

This outcome has also prompted the event’s organisers to adopt an omni-channel strategy, launching an app that allows shoppers to find deals and download coupons. This is a sign of recognition that Singaporeans are increasingly using online channels for shopping, which is good news for eCommerce store owners serving Singapore.

GSS returned to a one-month format in 201919, and the dates for GSS 2020 have yet to be announced.

Culture-Driven Sales

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (CNY) takes place at the beginning of the Chinese calendar year. It is a major holiday in Singapore, where Chinese citizens count for 74.3 per cent of the population20, respectively. The holiday is celebrated with street parades and family gatherings, as well as the giving of fruits and delicacies.

In Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam, CNY shopping tends to peak in the two weeks before the holiday21 itself. This allows people to buy gifts in advance, as well as purchase clothing and home decor for the festivities and for the new year ahead. With locals busy enjoying the festivities and participating in family rituals during the two days of the CNY public holiday, they spend less time shopping online on those two days. In fact, online sales begin to dip five days before CNY.

To boost online sales during the season and introduce eCommerce to older demographics, online platforms have made themselves visible during public CNY festivities22 in Singapore. This year, Shopee and Native, a tour-booking platform, set up booths at Chinatown as part of the CNY bazaar.

Meanwhile, platforms such as Amazon, Shopee, and Lazada, which made it a point to sell unique CNY-related items23 from heritage brands. Fashion retailers take the opportunity to sell modernised cheongsams,24 which are traditional dresses for Chinese women. Shoppers also like to purchase heavy home appliances during the CNY shopping period.

Smaller merchants can take a cue from these eCommerce giants’ steps and sell CNY-themed items. For example, those selling fashion can find clothing manufacturers who can make modern apparel inspired by the traditional Chinese aesthetic.

Hari Raya Puasa

Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims, who make up 14.3 per cent of Singapore’s population by religion.20 Muslims dress their best on Hari Raya Puasa, providing an opportunity for fashion ateliers and retailers to sell clothing in the weeks and days before the celebration.

Elegant, modest fashion25 for women is popular for Hari Raya Puasa celebrations. Zalora, FashionValet, and several other fashion eCommerce platforms and merchants run dedicated sales26 for Hari Raya Puasa. Homeware27 is also another popular category for Hari Raya sales.

There is no fixed annual date for observing Ramadan, as it depends on the Islamic calendar, which in turn is based on lunar cycles. Hari Raya Puasa 2019 will be celebrated on June 5.

Other Noteworthy eCommerce Events

12.12

For some sellers, 12.12 is deemed as the culmination of a month-long sales period that began in 11.11. For buyers, it’s a chance to find bargains that they may have missed during November’s sales events, and an opportunity to shop for Christmas and year-end presents.

In 2018, Shopee saw a record 12 million orders within 24 hours during the 12.12 sale. The company observed that the top-selling categories in Singapore28 were Beauty & Personal Care, Home & Living, and Mobile & Gadget. Under each category, the most popular brands were Laneige, P&G, and JBL, respectively.

9.9

9.9, held on September 9, is Shopee’s Mobile Shopping Day29. The platform recorded a peak order volume of 187 thousand orders per minute in 201930. In Singapore, over 90 per cent of orders were placed using mobile phones. Shopee took advantage of this high mobile usage by running in-app games31, such as Shopee Shake, which allows users to win Shopee coins. The platform also ran daily Spin-the-Wheel games with prizes such as promo codes and bonus coins.

Mobile & Gadgets, Health & Beauty and Games & Hobbies were top-selling product categories for the event.

Lazada Singapore’s Birthday Sale

Lazada Singapore offers discounts of up to 90 per cent during its Birthday Sale, officially held on March 27 in 2019 but usually running for at least three days. This year, over 100 brands held a total of 1,500 flash sales32 during the Birthday Sale. Popular deals included discounts for beauty products and shoes.

Christmas

Even after 11.11 and 12.12, Singaporeans continue shopping near Christmas Day on December 25—and even afterwards.33 One reason is that merchants also offer post-Christmas markdowns as well as back-to-school sales during the festive season.

Singaporeans buy Christmas gifts for themselves, their loved ones, and their office parties. Every year, numerous articles are written with ideas for gifts under $20 and under $35, especially for office gift-giving. Christmas baskets and customised items are also popular items, especially for business-to-business gift-giving. Online merchants may also want to sell festive decor before the Christmas holiday or even offer discount vouchers that are usable during the Christmas period.

It could be a bit troublesome not having all these dates in one place. To give you a hand, here is an infographic that contains all the shopping events discussed:

Singapore Major eCommerce Shopping Events

Types of promotions merchants can run

Pre-sales

Hold minor sales days prior to a major shopping event. Not only does this help you build up anticipation; it also allows you to bring in sales with fewer competitors around.

Flash sales

On the day of a major shopping event, hold flash sales that last for an hour or two, complete with a counter indicating the number of products sold and the remaining available items.

Competitive arousal34 has been shown to positively affect online purchase intention, especially when paired with time scarcity. That means buyers don’t like it when they miss out on an opportunity to get a good deal, especially when they see that other consumers have already bought the same and when they know they’re running out of time to make a purchase.

Surprise boxes

Surprise boxes are like product bundles, except that people don’t know what’s inside of them. This is your chance to delight and surprise buyers, as well as introduce less popular items by including them in a box with more in-demand products.

To decide what to place inside your surprise boxes, analyse the items that your buyers typically purchase together or search for in the same browsing period. Take a look at Google Trends35 to discover trending searches, too.

Themed days 

One of Shopee’s 9.9 sales tactics is to hold themed days31—24-hour periods focusing on major discounts for a specific product category. Aside from enticing consumers, this helps you simplify your supply preparation, as you’ll know which items will be in high demand on certain days.

Partner with cashback platforms

Cashback platforms like ShopBack are widely popular in Singapore. After all, with their ‘kiasu’ approach, locals can be quite ingenious when finding ways to not miss out on great bargains. (‘Kiasu’ is a local term that means the fear of losing out to other people.)

By partnering with cashback platforms, you can expose your online store or brand to a wider audience and encourage them to make a purchase.

High opportunity, high competition

Being Southeast Asia’s economic powerhouse, Singapore is an attractive pie for online merchants. Shopping has been ingrained into the locals’ lifestyle. While that’s a good thing, that also means that local retailers and online sellers are quite adept at competing for consumers’ wallets.

Increase your share of the Singapore eCommerce market by taking advantage of sales periods and tailoring your products and promotions to locals. Understand what makes Singaporeans click on the ‘purchase’ button and provide them with a pleasant and convenient user experience, powered by flexible end-to-end eCommerce logistics and international shipping.

To find more on the latest news on logistics and eCommerce in Southeast Asia, consider signing up for our Janio newsletter.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can solve your SEA eCommerce cross-border delivery needs, come and have a conversation with us.

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Interested in SEA’s hottest online sales periods? Find out more with our collection of blogposts:

Interested in eCommerce in Singapore? Find out more about Singapore’s eCommerce scene here:

References

  1. Singstat: Population and Population Structure
  2. We Are Social: Digital in Singapore 2019 
  3. Statista: Penetration rate of mobile subscriptions in Singapore from 2004 to 2018
  4. The World Bank
  5. Straits Times: Why shopping helps people feel more in control
  6. IPrice: The Map of E-commerce in Singapore
  7. Skywatches 
  8. FortyTwo
  9. The New Paper: Retailers report growth in Singles’ Day sales
  10. IPrice: Analysing Singaporeans’ Participation on Singles’ Day
  11. Data: Within 24 hours, Singaporeans Spent an Average of S$150 on 11.11, 67% More Than Previous Years
  12. Today Online: The Big Read – The not-so-Great Singapore Sale — after 25 years, once-premier shopping event is now left in the dust
  13. Black Friday 2020
  14. Business Times: Singapore retailers score hat trick with mega sales events
  15. Straits Times: 6 things to know about Black Friday sales
  16. Picodi
  17. IPrice: State of eCommerce in Southeast Asia 2017
  18. SG Passion Made Possible
  19. Marketing Interactive: Great Singapore Sales undergoes revamp, duration to be shortened to a month
  20. Index Mundi: Singapore Demographics Profile 2019
  21. Marketing Interactive: Shopping habits around CNY – Have you missed your chance?
  22. Straits Times: Online platforms take up booths at Chinatown Chinese New Year festive street bazaar
  23. Business Insider: Here are 5 things you should buy online instead this CNY
  24. The Honey Combers: Be the star of your reunion dinner with these modern cheongsams and CNY-inspired outfits
  25. The Honey Combers: Modest fashion labels to step up your style this Hari Raya
  26. Money Smart – 6 Online Shops for Affordable Baju Kurung in Singapore
  27. Homeware
  28. Vulcan Post: Shopee Saw 12 Million Orders On 12.12 – Here Are The Brands S’poreans Splurged On
  29. Shopee Blog – 9 Top Highlights This 9.9 Mobile Shopping Day
  30. Insider Retail: Shopee smashes its own records for 9.9 Super Shopping Day
  31. Alvinology: Shopee 9.9 Super Shopping Day hits over 5.8 million orders in 24 hours
  32. Geek Culture: Lazada Singapore’s 7th Birthday Sale: Surprise Box Unboxing + Giveaway!
  33. Asia One: Christmas is over, but not the shopping
  34. Wageningen University – Department of Social Sciences
  35. Google Trends 
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