E-commerce sites are gearing up for Singles' Day today, the largest online shopping day of the year in South-east Asia.
On Nov 11, or 11/11, online retailers will offer products at reduced rates, as part of the Chinese festival that celebrates being single. While the festival originated as an excuse for singles to party together, the rise of Internet shopping has led to the commercialisation of this holiday.
Sites such as Taobao make use of the holiday to target younger shoppers.
According to Criteo, a commerce marketing technology company, online retail sales tripled last year on Singles Day.
More than 5.1 million online transactions were made in South-east Asia last year. Singles' Day saw an upsurge in average number of visitors on the websites of the region's key retailers, with shoppers starting to make purchases from as early as Nov 7. The momentum continued with an average of 65 per cent increase in sales through to Dec 31.
In Singapore, local e-commerce sites such as Qoo10 and Lazada are offering special deals available only on Singles' Day.
Online marketplace Qoo10, for instance, is running a series of promotions, including selected items at $1 and daily giveaways worth up to $1,400.
Most of the smaller businesses in our platform have never ventured into digital commerce before.
MR HYUN WOOK CHO, Qoo10's Singapore country manager, who says the company has specialists to help such businesses.
In addition, major e-commerce sites have reached out to brick-and-mortar SMEs, helping them access a larger audience by having their products on a wider platform.
Qoo10's Singapore country manager, Mr Hyun Wook Cho, said that the company supports smaller retailers by helping them with the technology and digital marketing aspects of the business, such as photo editing and webpage layout.
Mr Cho said: "Most of the smaller businesses in our platform have never ventured into digital commerce before.
"We have in-house specialists such as designers and editors who are ready to assist them anytime."
Lazada added: "Brands and sellers join Lazada to expand their online presence and reach out to more customers. They stand to benefit from the massive spike in traffic Lazada receives during key sale dates like Online Revolution."
Shopper Rachel Wong, 23, a fresh graduate, said: "I don't really even notice that it's a Singles' Day event, but the sales are good so I generally just enjoy them."
She said that she does look online and spotlight products she would be interested in even two or three days before Nov 11.