S'pore retailers ride sales boom during festive season

People seen at Metro's Paragon outlet during the Black Friday sale on Nov 26, 2021. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Retailers both online and offline are gearing up for the upcoming 12.12 retail push after sales on Nov 11, better known as 11.11, and Black Friday recorded better figures than the same period last year.

E-commerce platform Lazada had 40 per cent more sellers taking part in its 11.11 sale, while retailers on Shopee sold more than two billion items during the same event.

This is a sharp rise from last year, when more than 200 million items were sold on Shopee during its 11.11 event.

The e-commerce platform said its event on Black Friday, which fell on Nov 26, also saw almost double the consumer demand it had last year.

"Each of our major sale campaigns continue to outperform the last, indicating the growing significance of e-commerce in the lives of consumers," said a spokesman for Shopee.

Lazada, which has 11.11 as its biggest one-day retail event of the year, crossed $11 million in sales in the first nine minutes of the event, breaking last year's sales record.

In particular, the digital category - which included items like food and beverage vouchers, tourist attraction vouchers and beauty services vouchers - had the strongest growth compared with 2020, while travel luggage sales almost doubled.

Lazada did not comment on its Black Friday sales figures.

Furniture and electronics giant Courts said its Black Friday sales outperformed those of its 11.11 event.

Its bestsellers included television sets, bedding and large home appliances such as refrigerators.

Courts Asia chief operating officer Matthew Hoang said consumer sentiment seems to be on the rebound as Covid-19 restrictions ease and Singaporeans gradually embrace the new normal.

"As the festive season draws closer, coupled with the school holidays and the relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, we have observed greater footfall in our physical stores as more shoppers turn up to do their holiday shopping," added Mr Hoang, who is also chief executive officer of Courts Singapore.

He is anticipating Courts' sales and promotions in December to draw similar or higher demand than its Black Friday sale.

Mr Erwin Wuysang-Oei, the marketing head of department store Metro, said shoppers appeared more comfortable going into stores compared with last year, but added that in-store traffic is not at pre-pandemic levels.

"We are still gearing up for the gift shopping season... However, we will continue to remain cautious despite the holiday sales season," said Mr Wuysang-Oei, who added that Metro is still recovering from the lack of tourists this year.

Shoppers approached by The Straits Times said they are looking forward to the 12.12 and holiday season sales.

Mr Brandon Chia, a third-year communications student at Nanyang Technological University, noted that retailers are offering more exclusive discounts online.

So the 24-year-old decided to shop only during online sales.

"I spent over $500 on clothing items online during the Black Friday sales. I also bought a Pokemon game during the 11.11 sale at $69. It was originally about $79," said Mr Chia.

But Mr Leong Ji Keet said that during sales events, he would rather shop for big-ticket items, such as beds and closets, at physical stores.

"It's always better to see these items in person so you can test them out or see the measurements to check if they fit your home," said the 26-year-old university teaching assistant.

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