THE recently concluded Great Singapore Sale (GSS) packed shoppers into brick-and-mortar shops here, but online retailers also saw significant action.
A survey by online payment facilitator PayPal has indicated that shoppers here who use its service spent 240 per cent more with home-grown online merchants than they did during last year's GSS.
The bulk of the spending was on fashion, travel and computer accessories.
PayPal, used by more than 40,000 local online merchants, declined to say how much shoppers here spent in the first 50 days of the sale, but said the figure runs into 'tens of millions' of dollars.
Online retailers interviewed said they had enjoyed a spillover of the buoyant shopping mood in stores; the GSS discounts they dangled online also kept cash registers ringing for them.
The two-month-long sale ended on Sunday.
A survey by MasterCard carried out in the first month of the sale indicated that cardholders had splashed out $830.7million in stores, 49per cent more than during the GSS last year.
Mr Jack Woo, co-founder of online group buying retailer BigDeal.sg, was at first worried that the deep discounts in stores would slow online sales.
'During the GSS, stores offer deals similar to the online discounts we offer. There was definitely competition,' he said.
Competition did, in fact, hit sales of food and beverage deals on BigDeal.sg, depressing them by about 8per cent during the GSS. But its sale of beauty products grew about 20per cent.
Overall, BigDeal.sg ended the sale period up: Its overall sales surged nearly $1 million, a shining performance compared to the $20,000 it made during last year's GSS.
Said Mr Woo: 'During the GSS, restaurants offer a lot of good deals, so people don't buy dining deals online, but the stores can't match our beauty deals, with discounts of over 80per cent, so we were not affected much.'
Mr Patrick Linden, chief executive of online retailer Deal.com.sg, said business grew 30 per cent month-on-month during the sale because the deals on its site are not available in stores.
Some online shops rolled out GSS offers. Stylez-Online, which sells branded items such as bags and wallets for less, was offering its customers additional discounts of up to 55per cent.
Its spokesman said its GSS deals were snapped up quickly, swelling its business by about 20per cent during the sale.
Engineer Sean Kuan, 28, who spent about $700 during the GSS, including $500 on online deals for holidays and spa treatments, said he continued to shop online during GSS because some online retailers were offering bigger discounts, or deals not found in shops.
Ms Lau Chuen Wei, executive director of the Singapore Retailers Association, the body which organises the GSS, welcomed the news that online retailers fared well:
'The objectives of the GSS are to offer great shopping options to consumers, and in so doing, generate more business for retailers. We therefore encourage retailers to participate in the GSS to add to the buzz of the sale season. So, whether the stores are brick-and-mortar ones or online stores, if those objectives are met, the GSS would have succeeded.'