10 Facts About GSS, The National Event That Might Just Disappear In A Few Years’ Time

Image: AS photo studio / Shutterstock.com

GSS is one of those events in Singapore that we all have looked forward to at one point or another in our lives.

That’s when our parents usually let us buy new clothes and shoes, or if you are older, you go get new household items.

It was always a very exciting period of time and when you visited the malls, especially along Orchard Road, you’ll likely find them packed full of people.

But it was all part of the process of shopping till dropping and we loved every minute of it.

But that was then.

Now, GSS has somehow become quite lacklustre and has fallen behind in attracting the throngs of crowds.

Especially this year.

So, before this event becomes a distant memory like a lot of things in Singapore, here are 10 facts about GSS that you should know about.

1. The Great Singapore Sale started in 1994

Yeah, GSS has been around for quite some time! It started in 1994 and offered discounts of up to 70% on household items, electronics, high fashion and much more.

Not unlike the GSS of today.

It was organised way back then by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and the Singapore Retailers Association.

Some of the biggest highlights of the 1994 GSS include featuring the world’s largest uncut diamond – a 620-carat Sefadu. It is as big as a large lemon – siao liao!

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They also had a 12-hour board game marathon, and a $1.5 million art auction, amongst other things!

Sounds like the 1994 GSS was lit af.

So lit that it has lasted until today!

2. There are no official participants of GSS

Image: VisitSingapore

All the stores you see participating in the GSS are not official participants of this event.

Because there are no official participants.

Basically, any store that wants to be part of the GSS can just offer up the discounts and offers and promotions that they want to offer. And they will be considered the participants.

It’s not even compulsory for them to use the GSS logo. It’s a marketing strategy that they can choose to employ. Or not to.

3. How long does GSS go on for?

The official date for the GSS event this year is 8 June to 12 August.

But did you know that any and all participating stores can hold their GSS promotions and offers for as long or as short as they would like?

So they can just be like oh, GSS at Metro starts 3 June for example. Or hey, GSS at Tangs has been extended till 10 September.

Btw, this is just an EXAMPLE okay, you gotta keep up with the stores’ announcements to see if they start earlier or are planning on prolonging the sales period. 

Or you can make things easier for yourself and just tune into the Goody Feed App. 😉

Ah, nothing like a bit of self-promo to get the day started. 

4. In the 2013 GSS, MasterCard Cardholders went BONKERS. 

The 2013 GSS was iconic for one major reason.

They launched a campaign featuring famous Singaporean bloggers. It was known as the Princess Singapore Campaign.

And the campaign worked incredibly well.

Because that year, MasterCard Cardholders ended up spending a whopping US$1.5 BILLION during the GSS.

This was an 11.3% increase from 2012’s GSS.

I said this before and I’ll say it again. Siao liao. 

5. GSS isn’t a huge deal anymore, especially this year. 

GSS has been steadily losing its steam in recent years.

According to Ngee Ann Poly’s senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam, he said it’s because of the extension of sales period and how the entire shamoozle has become a bit dated, basically.

Another student said that now, people don’t really have to wait to buy stuff on sale anymore.

And that’s true. You’ve got end-of-season sales, flash sales, clearance sales, post-sale sales…the list goes on.

With prices being continually slashed here and there every so often, it makes sense that GSS has become a bit irrelevant. Cuz you can get stuff on sale practically every other day of the week.

6. Sales on other days have become more attractive.

In recent years, there are other sales periods that have become more attractive to consumers.

Black Friday Sale, for example, has seen more retail engagement than GSS.

There are also other sales that are just more captivating to the modern consumer, like Singles’ Day Sales, CNY sales and so on.

Even so, the entire retail consumer industry has taken quite the nosedive this year. With people not spending in brick-and-mortar stores as much as before, it kind of makes sense that GSS isn’t going to magically attract the crowds once again.

It just goes to show that a fundamental revamping of this event is in order.

7. E-commerce has taken over. 

The worst part about GSS has always been shopping with the crowds, in my opinion.

Love the sales, hate the crowds.

Image: 2p2play / Shutterstock.com

And with the rise of e-commerce, the GSS event doesn’t really stand a chance against people sitting at home or on the train back going on a shopping spree online.

Since online stores are also participating in the GSS events.

You see international websites like ASOS and local ones like Lazada, Shopee, Zalora and so on having their own GSS sales.

Which is super attractive to modern consumers, lah. Sit in the comfort of my own home and click away and also enjoying big discounts.


8. Competition. 

GSS has also lost a lot of steam because of competitors just across the borders.

Image: ssray / Shutterstock.com

Countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand have all stepped in to give their version of the GSS. And with currency exchange and all that, it is even cheaper to go overseas and do a major shopping spree.

Malaysia has The Malaysia Mega Sale, Thailand has its Amazing Thailand Grand Sale, and Hong Kong has their Hong Kong Shopping Festival – all of which are running pretty much concurrently with the GSS period.

So again, this is another reason why GSS has lost its attractiveness in recent years. Local consumers are distracted by other more ‘shiny’ options.

9. Confusion over target audience.

The first rule of having a business is knowing who your target audience is.

And another reason why GSS has kinda lost out in recent years its because it has never made clear who the target audience is.

Image: IamDoctorEgg / Shutterstock.com

Is it the local population? Tourists? Older gen? Millennials?

If you don’t have a target audience, it is more than likely that eventually you gonna become irrelevant. Because other more attractive options is sure to sway people away.

With events like the Ramadan Bazaar and Artbox pulling in massive crowds, its quite apparent that people are willing to step out and spend money.

So GSS probably needs a bit of fresh air breathed into its dated bones. Maybe then it will pull in the crowds like before. Best way to go about it? Find their target audience and stick to it!

10. GoSpree

In order to get people interested in GSS, the Singapore Retailer Association decided to go digital.

Image: todayonline.com

And the GoSpree App was launched.

It is marketed as an app that will allow you to get exclusive coupons, rewards and benefits to make shopping during the GSS even more swee.

Apparently, the app has been downloaded over 34,000 times since its launch last year.

And improvements have been done this year to the app, to include more e-coupons, prizes, incentives and the like, to get people more into shopping during the GSS.

It will even absorb GST on July 7 and August 8.

But the GoSpree app only has a 2.6 star rating on the App store and 3.3 stars on Google Play.

The app hasn’t really taken off with many Singaporeans, who claim that they have to give too many personal information to sign up so it’s just not worth signing up for.

This might be why not many people have downloaded the app. That and the fact that many people don’t even know that this app exists. I, for one, certainly didn’t know till now.

Well, GSS, as we know it, may very soon be a thing of the past, the way things are going. People don’t seem to be that interested anymore.

And all the components they are bringing in (like GoSpree) are really not gaining traction.

Well, if it is gonna be history, at the very least we will have very fond memories of standing in the long queue for the cashier while our moms run around the store picking up stuff to buy.

Got to chope a place in the cashier line also, you know. Cuz #kiasu.

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Life is one big adventure, so you can find her on the next flight out. (But when flights are too expensive, you can find her in bed catching up on the twenty TV shows she’s decided to watch.) Food time is her favourite time of every day, and way too many things interest her so now she’s just a jumbled-up ball of curiosity navigating this messy, happy little world she has.