How to pick up a good deal on Singles Day

November 11 is Singles Day and some retailers in New Zealand are offering discounts.
November 11 is Singles Day and some retailers in New Zealand are offering discounts. Photo credit: Getty Images.

An annual shopping day that started out as an anti-Valentine's Day in China is becoming popular in New Zealand. 

Singles Day is an opportunity for retailers to sell more products by offering discounts - but for eagle-eyed shoppers, there may be an opportunity to pick up a good deal.

Celebrated on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year, 'Singles' Day or 'double 11' started as the opposite of Valentine's Day, giving singles an opportunity to meet and celebrate.  The annual shopping day is now embraced by retailers across China. 

According to the Business Insider, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba clocked up US$78 billion in sales last year (NZ$110b), a sum estimated to have grown about ten times since 2009.  

This year, New York Times reports the annual shopping event is more subdued, as Alibaba  steers away from using latest sales tactics, which have included a 'see now, buy now' fashion show, towards green logistics, eco-friendly products and consuming with care.

In New Zealand, the idea of a day set aside for treating oneself has been slow to catch on, but  it's becoming more popular. Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford told Newshub some Kiwi retailers are getting behind it, offering discounts to mark the day.

Among them are The Warehouse Group (including The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and The, Briscoes and Farmers.

On Thursday, The Warehouse is offering shoppers an 11 percent discount on a range of online items, while Warehouse Stationery is offering the same discount across all products site-wide.

Briscoes is also getting behind Singles Day, offering discounts on homeware.  At Farmers, shoppers receive 11 percent off perfumes and certain beauty brands.

For those prepared to wait for items to be delivered, has 'early Black Friday' discounts. Chinese ecommerce platform is also luring shoppers with discounts and 'lucky' discount coupons.

Shoppers are reminded that due to global supply issues during COVID-19, certain products, colours and styles may not be available.

"If you're shopping online, it's good to know that '' doesn't always mean you're shopping with a Kiwi company... I'd encourage everyone shopping online to be supporting a brand that they know and trust to avoid any problems," Harford said.

Three tips for picking up a good deal on Singles Day 

Although Singles Day is an opportunity to splash some pent-up lockdown cash, flash sales create the temptation to overspend. 

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, country manager at product and comparison website PriceSpy, confirms data from Singles Day last year showed 16 percent of products listed on its website dropped in price. 

Among those for which prices dropped 10 percent or more, the average discount offered was 20 percent. This was similar to Black Friday, although the number of products discounted was far less.

Discounts could be found on categories such as gaming and consoles, mobile and smartphones, and audio/video (e.g. TVs, speakers and headphones), she said.

To help shoppers spot a true discount, PriceSpy has the following tips. 

1. Write a list

Don't be lured into buying more to save more: write a list and tick it off.

2. Research price history 

It's easy to assume a red sale sticker means the product is offered at an attractive price.

Checking a product's price history tells shoppers the cheapest price it sold for - and whether the current price really is a good deal. 

3. Check competitors' prices 

Comparing prices helps shoppers find the best deal overall.

Price research can quickly be done online: shoppers can check  competitors' websites, and/or use a price comparison tool.

"Shoppers who take some extra time to conduct price and product research are most likely to secure a bargain in the sales and avoid paying over the odds," Matinvesi-Bassett said.

Aside from Singles Day, other pre-Christmas discount shopping days are Black Friday on November 27 and Cyber Monday on November 30. 

Leading up to Christmas, some retailers also offer early Boxing Day sales.