Mark your calendars, because you won’t get better deals than these.
Singaporeans live to shop. Need a clearer sign? Just look at the amount of shopping malls that are already around us, and the number of new malls that are mushrooming every month or so. We just can’t get enough, and retailers know it.
Sure, shopping is easy. You can easily step out of your house and buy whatever you need at any of these malls. But being a savvy shopper takes skills and patience. In fact, if you’re looking to maximise your dollar and get the most bang for your buck, you might want to hold off your purchases — whether it is online or offline — and reserve them on these 13 key shopping events in the calendar. Why? One word — sale.
From Chinese New Year and Christmas deals to the frenzied discounts of Black Friday and 11.11, these are the most important dates you should know about if you’re inflicted by the shopping bug. Good things come to those who wait.
When: Before the beginning of the Chinese Lunar calendar
When is it in 2021: 12 & 13 February
As the name suggests, Chinese New Year is when the Chinese Lunar calendar refreshes into another year and it is a momentous holiday for the Chinese. It is also known as the Spring Festival in China. Capitalising on that, many brands will offer discounts and promotions to entice shoppers to splash out, especially since the Chinese believe in purchasing new clothing and items to usher in the new year. The date of the Chinese new year changes every year, so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact recurring date. It will usually happen between mid-January to mid-February, but one telling sign that it is approaching is when shopping malls and departmental stores start playing the merry festive tunes (much like Christmas).
When: May 20
When is it in 2021: May 20
One of four shopping events created in China (the others being 618, 11.11 and 12.12; more on those later), the 520 sale is the earliest in the calendar and occurs on May 20. The Mandarin pronunciation of ‘520’, or wu er ling (五二零), is deemed to be a homophone to ‘I love you’, or wo ai ni (我爱你), and is said to be a lingo used by the Chinese. 520 is also known as 亲子节, which roughly translates to parent and child festival. According to a Taobao shopping aficionado we spoke to, the date is especially great for purchasing products that are related to parenting and children from Chinese e-tailer sites such as Taobao and Tmall. Similarly, other merchants will extend discounts though not as much as the aforementioned. As with most shopping events, the 520 sale has slowly expanded to other unrelated categories (i.e. they don’t focus specifically on parents and children).
When: June 18
When is it in 2021: June 18
Next on the Chinese shopping calendar is the 618 sale. Happening on June 18, the 618 sale is akin to the mid-year sales. According to China Internet Watch, 618 was created by another Chinese e-tailer Jingdong as part of its yearly anniversary celebration and other retailers have jumped onto the bandwagon in recent years. Case in point: Furniture and electronic store Courts and shopping rebate company ShopBack both have their own 618 promotions.
When: June and July
When is it in 2020: 9 Sep – 10 Oct
The shopping event in Singapore, the Great Singapore Sale, or GSS, is an annual movement that has retailers nationwide slashing prices and rolling out deals and promotions. According to VisitSingapore, the inaugural GSS was held in 1994 to such success that businesses decided to keep it going every year. If you’re a Singaporean or have lived here long enough, this is an event that you’ll be well aware of and are looking forward to. Across categories of fashion, beauty and lifestyle, you can look forward to steep discounts and enticing deals to stretch your dollar. These days, GSS has also been rebranded into a lifestyle experience, so you’d see pop-up stalls, movie screenings and fashion shows as part of the event too.
Unfortunately, due to Covid, the GSS is now an online affair titled “eGSS 2020”. But don’t worry, you can still enjoy great discounts at your favourite online stores like Zalora, Shopee, Qoo10, ShopBack and Lazada!
When: No fixed date, usually in mid-July
When is it in 2020: 13 October (speculated)
Amazon is an American e-commerce site and is very much similar to China’s Taobao or Singapore-based Lazada. The Amazon Prime Day is exclusive to Prime members (i.e. a paid subscription service) and shopping deals would last up to 36 hours unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which lasts for just 24 hours), according to The Verge. And with Amazon Prime now available in Singapore, it’s time for us to cash in on these shopping deals. Pro tip: Even if you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up for the trial and time it to last over the Prime Day sales. Its dates are usually kept hush until weeks before the event — but according to The Verge and CNET, it’s speculated to hit SG on 13 October (winks).
Keep an eye out for it! Amazon is said to make an official announcement on 27 September.
When: Seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar
When is it in 2020: August 25
In Chinese mythology, there is a tragic love story that recounts how the cowherd and weaving girl only get to meet once a year on the night of the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. That day is now known as Qixi (七夕) Festival and is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. As Business of Fashion shares, Qixi Festival has grown to be a festival noted for gifting. Retailers, ranging from high end to high street, will offer limited edition pieces and flash promos via WeChat. No worries if you are not on the platform: Many retailers will also cash in on the joyous occasion with their own deals, as AsiaOne details via China Daily. These include other Chinese e-tailers such as Taobao.
When: November 11
When is it in 2020: November 11
Falling on November 11, the 11.11 sale is also known as the Singles’ Day sales. Created by Chinese conglomerate Alibaba in 2008, the event is a bonanza that cannot be missed. In fact, the same Taobao aficionado we mentioned earlier has shared that the 11.11 event is the best time, amongst all the other Chinese shopping events, to cash in on the deals. Straits Times also reported that the 24-hour event generates over S$33 billion in revenue and has expanded beyond China and into Singapore and the regional market. Moreover, local brick-and-mortar and e-tailers, ranging from Love, Bonito and RedMart to Lazada, Zalora and Shopee, will launch deals and discounts as well. Definitely a date you cannot miss.
When: Fourth Friday of November
When is it in 2020: November 27
Started in the United States of America (USA), Black Friday is held the day after Thanksgiving that falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It is said to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On Black Friday, brick-and-mortar retailers will provide extensive one-day-only deals that are so enticing that people will start queueing outside the store in advance just to get a head start over the others. For example, Straits Times reported that the first person in the queue for last year’s Black Friday sale at the Robinsons The Heeren department store started queueing on Thursday from 6am. The perk? iPhones (XR, XS and XS Max models) and iPads were given out to the first few shoppers who hit a certain amount spent. Other retailers such as Metro, Courts, Tangs and Sephora usually offer jaw-dropping deals as well, and Black Friday sales have also extended to e-commerce sites like Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee and ezbuy.
When: Following Monday from Black Friday
When is it in 2020: November 30
Another event that was started in the US, Cyber Monday is a continuation from Black Friday and happens on the Monday after. Unlike Black Friday, Cyber Monday specifically, as the name implies, refers to online retailers only. The shopping event was created in response to the growing e-commerce business, and Singaporean e-tailers have also jumped onboard this lucrative trend. This means you can expect promotions with online-only brands such as Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee and ASOS, for example. On the other hand, brands with both physical and online presence, such as Sephora and Guardian, would push special online shopping deals that wouldn’t be applicable at their brick-and-mortar stores.
When: December 12
When is it in 2020: December 12
Following the spectacular success of the 11.11 sales, the 12.12 sales was created by Taobao to help smaller merchants who weren’t able to capitalise on the Singles’ Day event, according to the ecommercechinaagency.com. While it remains smaller in scale compared to its November counterpart, many merchants including Lazada and ShopBack have also joined in the shopping event with their own deals and promotions.
When: Before Christmas
When is it in 2020: Before December 25
Much like Chinese New Year, the deals created in the lead-up to Christmas are to entice shoppers who are looking to score great gifts at an even better value. During this period, many shopping malls would extend their opening hours while throwing in complimentary gift-wrapping services, on top of the shopping deals and discounts. In addition, many brands would create gift sets of their bestselling items. These sets would be going at a lower price than if you had purchased the items individually, so it would be irresistible not to purchase them. For e-tailers, there’d usually be promotions and bundle-deals as well.
When: The day after Christmas
When is it in 2020: December 26
What happens to the excess stock that retailers have prepped to meet the Christmas shopping surge? Well, they’ll most likely be sold at a fraction of its price with discounts and deals on Boxing Day, which happens on the day after Christmas on December 26. If you’ve been eyeing to get something before Christmas but are not in too big a hurry, it can often pay off to wait till Boxing Day to score it at a better value. However, hot items might sell out before/during Christmas so you’ll have to weigh your options.
When: September to December
When is it in 2020: Various dates
What makes scoring a great deal even better? The ability to get rebates from your spending at the same time. This is where cashback reward program ShopBack comes in. Since 2018, ShopBack has created the ShopBack ShopFest in the final quarter of the year, which happens in the lead up to 9/9 Rewards Day on Sept 9 and 10/10 Perfect 10 sale on Oct 10, as well as 11.11 and 12.12. Besides helping shoppers get the best deals from its partners — which includes over 500 merchants such as Taobao, Lazada and Qoo10 — ShopBack will also introduce greater cashback value for limited periods. This event is especially helpful for those who are daunted by the sheer volume of promotions during the many year-end sales and those looking to get higher value for shopping.
By Ho Guo Xiong, June 2019 / Updated November 2019; updated by Willaine G. Tan, September 2020.
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