5 things to know about 11.11 or Singles' Day sales

Workers sort parcels at an SF Express distribution centre ahead of the Singles' Day online shopping festival, in Shenyang, China on Oct 24.
Workers sort parcels at an SF Express distribution centre ahead of the Singles' Day online shopping festival, in Shenyang, China on Oct 24.PHOTO: REUTERS

The annual Singles' Day sales are just around the corner, and shops have started to roll out some incredible deals to attract consumers.

Held on Nov 11 every year, more commonly referred to as 11.11, the 24-hour extravaganza was originally a celebration for lonely hearts in China, but has now ballooned into a multibillion-dollar online sales event.

Here are five things to know about the Singles' Day sales.

1. Sales exceed Thanksgiving weekend numbers in the US

Marking the 10th anniversary of the inaugural shopping event, which was started by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant has claimed that this year's global shopping festival will be the largest ever in terms of scale and reach, especially since it falls on a Sunday.

Last year, The Straits Times reported that Alibaba had smashed its own global sales record from the previous year, hitting 168.3 billion yuan (S$33.4 billion). These numbers exceed those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined. In its first iteration of the Singles' Day sales in 2009, Alibaba made US$7.8 million (S$10.7 million) and involved only 27 merchants, according to CNBC and Reuters.

While China still boasts the highest amount of activity during Singles' Day, regional markets like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are also gaining traction.


QR codes being produced ahead of the Singles Day shopping festival, in Wenzhou, China on Oct 24. PHOTO: REUTERS

2. More retailers are taking part this year

Many global retailers have jumped on the bandwagon after seeing the popularity of the sales, with some launching pre-sale deals before the actual day. Apart from Alibaba, which owns Taobao and Lazada, other retailers include Shopee, Ezbuy, Zalora, Amazon and Sephora.

A savvy shopper will be able to get good deals on a variety of items from the various online shopping platforms, including beauty products, electronic gadgets, household appliances, and many more.

Stores have also joined in on the hype offline. For instance, in Singapore, drugstore Watsons is now offering an 11 per cent discount, while department stores Metro and Robinsons had special 11.11 sales last year.


Love, Bonito is slashing up to 70 per cent off their prices online for 11.11. PHOTO: LOVE, BONITO

3. Local companies to look out for

In Singapore, local companies have also joined in the fun, with apparel blogshops Love, Bonito and The Tinsel Rack slashing up to 70 per cent and 80 per cent off their prices respectively, while online supermarket RedMart is offering up to 50 per cent off this year.

Folding bike and e-scooter seller Mighty Velo is offering discounts and package deals on its products online.


11.11 is one of the busiest days of the year at Qxpress, Qoo10's sorting and delivery facility in Toh Guan. PHOTO: QOO10

4. Not just products and gadgets on offer

Even deals on travel are available, such as an 8 per cent discount on Hotels.com, or a 9 per cent cashback on Booking.com and Expedia through Shopback, a cashback site that allows shoppers to get a percentage of their purchases back if these are made through the platform.

Shoppers who pay with United Overseas Bank cards can use specific codes for extra discounts online at Qoo10, AforArcade, Reebonz and more.


A Shopee buyer in Vietnam receiving an order. PHOTO: SEA LTD

5. Discount 'no enough'? Get an even better deal

 
 

If you are a keen shopper who refuses to just settle for the quoted discount prices, here are some ways to get more savings.

Shopee has created Shopee Shake, a game on its app where users can shake their phones to win Shopee coins. These coins can be used for discounts, as well as for special prizes from selected brands.

Lazada is offering surprise boxes at fixed prices of $29 or $49 that contain $100 or $149 worth of goods respectively. These deals can be much cheaper than buying the items individually, but there is an element of risk in that you will not know exactly which products are in the boxes.

Taobao has limited cash hongbao of up to 150 yuan in value up for grabs on its app daily until Nov 11.