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Singles’ Day 11.11 sales in Singapore surpass 2019’s numbers despite Covid-19, recession

SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 crisis and economic recession seemed to have little effect on how consumers here approached this year’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza, which took place on Wednesday (Nov 11).

Workers packing and sorting high-valued items such as branded electronics at Lazada's warehouse in Singapore.

Workers packing and sorting high-valued items such as branded electronics at Lazada's warehouse in Singapore.

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  • Sales on Lazada surpassed last year’s before the day was over on Nov 11
  • Shopee’s performance also outdid last year’s by Nov 11 morning
  • Some shoppers said they were shopping more to try to save more given the bad economic times
  • Others reported having “discount fatigue”, saying that they had nothing else to buy


SINGAPORE — The Covid-19 crisis and economic recession seemed to have little effect on how consumers here approached this year’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza, which took place on Wednesday (Nov 11).

Lazada Singapore said that its 11.11 online sales surpassed last year’s performance by 5pm on Wednesday. The shopping site was among the top three online marketplaces that consumers flocked to for the sale, alongside Taobao and Shopee, e-commerce aggregator ShopBack said.

It took 35 minutes for shoppers here to chalk up buys such that the figures surpassed last year’s numbers in the first two hours, Lazada said.

The e-commerce site sold more than 180,000 items by the 11th minute, which meant that more than 16,000 items were being sold each minute at that time.

Its bestselling products were transport credits, staycations, food-and-beverage vouchers, tissue paper, 24-pack beers, milk formula, diapers and home gym equipment, among others.

A worker laying out and arranging items bought by online shoppers for easier identification when packing. Photo: Lazada

Lazada’s chief executive officer James Chang said the “phenomenal” results showed that 11.11 has made consumers happy “especially in this current climate”.

Shopee similarly told TODAY that its sales performance in Singapore outdid last year’s in “record-breaking time”.

“We saw an overwhelming response, with the amount transacted on Shopee (in Singapore) surpassing 2019's record in under an hour,” it said.

Its bestselling products in Singapore were diapers from the brand Merries, Innisfree cosmetic facial masks and Nintendo Switch gaming consoles.

Across its markets, 200 million items were sold on its platform on the day itself, significantly higher than last year’s 70 million.

Mr Zhou Junjie, chief commercial officer at Shopee, said: “The success of our 11.11 Big Sale reflects the continued growth of e-commerce in the region and the many opportunities it presents for businesses and shoppers.

“At a time where the business landscape is transforming, we are committed to helping sellers and brands capture new growth opportunities, while making online shopping more engaging and rewarding for consumers.”

Singles’ Day on Nov 11 was started by China tech giant Alibaba in 2009 as a mega sales event for singles to shop on e-commerce website Taobao, but many other online retailers have jumped on it since and the duration of the sale for some have also gone beyond one day.

Taobao could not respond to TODAY’s queries on its Singapore-specific sales and traffic performance this year by the time of this article’s publication.

It gave only general figures of how its “global shopping festival”, which started on Nov 1, saw a 26 per cent increase in sales by Wednesday, compared with the same period last year.

Over the 11 days, it generated about S$101 billion in gross merchandise volume.

ShopBack, which is also a cashback programme platform that allows online shoppers to receive money and rewards when they buy from its partner merchants, said that Singaporeans collected around S$350,000 in cashback, with the top cashback earner being awarded close to S$1,500.

In all, it observed that about 10 times the user traffic on an average day were generated, and the top items it saw being transacted were bubble tea, staycations and Airpods, which are headphones from Apple.


Some shoppers told TODAY that they spent more for the 11.11 sale because they wanted to save more on items that they would usually buy and have not gotten.

Ms Vivienne Khoo, 28, a systems engineer, said that she looks forward to 11.11 yearly as it is the “true OG (original gangster)” of online sale events such as “8.8”, “9.9” and “10.10” that had preceded it — and this year’s no exception. 

She spent about S$700 this year, including a S$540 package to attend 30 classes of yoga. This was higher than her spending in previous years for the 11.11 sale but she said that she had held back on shopping for much of this year.

In the last three months of last year, Ms Khoo said that she spent about S$2,700 shopping, but in the first 10 months of this year, she spent just S$1,400. 

She would usually be spending S$6,000 to S$7,000 on a snowboarding holiday to Japan, she added, so buying the yoga package was not a big splurge.

“Now that Singapore is going through a recession, I wanted to be more cash-rich and more prudent with my spending and I tried to cut down on my shopping,” she said.


There are people though, who have “discount fatigue”, with a few saying that they had nothing else to buy.

Housewife Chan Yen Ling used to anticipate this yearly sale and take one to two weeks to shop for shoes, clothes and kitchenware, which would see their prices drop on the day, but she did not even take a moment to check up what might be on sale this year.

The 52-year-old said that the novelty had worn off for her because she had already bought the items she needed from online retailers earlier this year during the two-month partial lockdown when stores were closed, and the many sale events after that.

“People spend more time at home throughout this Covid-19 period so most of the things are already bought online. After a while, the excitement is gone,” she said.

Account manager Hannah Teoh, 38, who spent about S$100 during this year’s 11.11 event on water bottles, umbrellas and watch straps, said that she did not hold back her other required purchases before this because things “aren’t very much cheaper than other times”. 

There was only a difference of about S$1 or a few cents for many of the items that she had been monitoring.

“This year, there was a massive shift to working from home at the beginning of the year. Work-from-home essentials like standing desks, table lamps, headphones and ergonomic chairs — people would have bought them already,” Ms Teoh said.

Still, there are shoppers such as Jenna, a 19-year-old who did not want to give her full name.

She said that her family has been spending more during 11.11 year after year. 

The buys came up to more than S$800 this year as they shopped for Christmas presents, a neck massager for her aunt, a clothes steamer, a Polaroid printer, shampoo, clothes and accessories, among other things.

The spending had “definitely been on the rise”, Jenna said. “Other than including (protective) masks in our checkout items, I didn’t really feel very much of a difference (in what we shopped for) this year."

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Singles' Day online sales Covid-19 coronavirus

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