Singapore - eCommerceSingapore - eCommerce
Singapore’s eCommerce market is growing fast helped by its pervasive, ultra‐high speed, and trusted ICT infrastructure, tech savvy population, and the government’s dedication in embracing the digital economy and achieving its goal of becoming a Smart Nation. The World Bank ranked Singapore as the second easiest place to do business in the world. It is English speaking, has rule of law, strong IP protection, and an advanced infrastructure network. There is excellent opportunity for U.S. companies to participate in the growing Singapore eCommerce market given its sophisticated, international customer base and one of the highest disposable incomes in Asia. Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in the region, making it an ideal gateway into Asia Pacific’s eCommerce market.
Current Market Trends
Singapore’s eCommerce market is growing fast. According to Statista Portal, Singapore’s eCommerce revenue will amount to $3.74 billion by the end 2018, and is expected to show annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 10.1% resulting in a market volume of $5.489 billion by 2022. The eCommerce ecosystem in the country has grown significantly as key digital marketplaces such as Qoo10 have set up regional operations in Singapore to manage their growth in Southeast Asia while Amazon launched it’s Prime Now service in July 2017 with a 100,000 square- foot fulfillment center in the country. Amazon’s Prime Now service in Singapore operates on a different model compared to other countries as it relies more heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Novel logistics processes such as on-demand delivery scheduling and random stow systems – which locates stock in a warehouse according to order frequency – have been adopted in an effort to drive greater efficiencies. This is in line with the Singapore government’s vision to be a hub for consumer-centric innovation where companies understand and know their consumers online. It actively supports companies in leveraging IT to develop and expand their businesses.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
A favorite pastime of Singaporeans is shopping and online shopping is especially popular with young adults and higher income households. A study by Visa showed that 26% of Singaporeans shop online at least once a week – the highest in Southeast Asia. Those in the 25 to 44 age group most frequently shop online in Singapore.
According to Forrester Research, 60% of Singapore’s eCommerce sales come from cross-border orders, a significant percentage compared to countries like Malaysia (40%), Japan (18%), and South Korea (25%). The Financial Study Association of Amsterdam also highlighted Singapore’s suitability as an eCommerce test-bed, as the high share of cross-border trade offers businesses unique insights into Asia Pacific’s online shopping behavior.
B2B eCommerce transactions have been growing in Singapore and there is a trend of more companies using the country as a base to reach overseas customers in neighboring countries. The Singapore government actively supports eCommerce with various initiatives to help businesses establish strategies locally and abroad while helping them increase sales and productivity.
There are many local fulfilment centers in Singapore and some such as Singapore Post provides a full service end-to-end managed eCommerce solution. Situated at the crossroads of international shipping and air routes, Singapore is a center for transportation and communication in Southeast Asia. With more than 130 airlines serving some 400 cities, Singapore’s Changi Airport has established itself as a major aviation hub in the Asia Pacific region. Singapore is also a leading international maritime center, connected to 600 ports in over 120 countries. The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index ranked Singapore Asia’s top performer when it comes to global freight forwarding and express carriers. Its well-developed logistics and infrastructure network has attracted major international logistics companies such as FedEx, UPS and DHL to locate major hubs in Singapore.
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
The Singapore government has strengthened statutes and regulations to boost consumer confidence in eCommerce. U.S. firms interested in doing business in Singapore should be aware of the following regulations and laws:
Electronic Transactions Act
Sale of Goods Act
Computers Misuse Act
Trade Marks Act
Personal Data Protection Act
Popular eCommerce Sites
Besides Amazon, E-bay, and Apple, other popular eCommerce sites visited by Singaporeans include Taobao, Qoo10, Lazada, Zalora, Carousell, Redmart, Reebonz, HipVan, Alibaba and Honestbee.
Singapore has the most mature eCommerce payment infrastructures in Southeast Asia. A survey by Payvision showed that most domestic eCommerce sales are paid by credit cards and bank transfers. Cash on delivery is not as commonly used in Singapore as in other countries in Southeast Asia. For cross-border purchases, Singapore’s preferred payment methods are credit cards and PayPal.
Smartphones are ubiquitous in the country as Singaporeans use them to listen to music, connect with friends, find restaurants, get the latest news, and shop online. Mobile commerce shows a stronger growth than the overall eCommerce market. Young Singaporean customers (between 18 and 29 years old) are driving this trend; almost three quarters of them use their mobile devices for online shopping. Mobile usage is expected to continue to grow strongly.
Some effective online promotions on eCommerce sites include discounts of 15%, buy one get one free, and/or free delivery.
Major Buying Holidays
Black Fridays, Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Google Online Festivals drive online purchases in Singapore.
Singaporeans are among the most active social media users in the world. They use Facebook, YouTube, Google, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest as well as messaging apps such as WhatsApp. The country has one of the most developed ICT infrastructures in the world with a nation-wide super high-speed fiber optic broadband network. According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), 91.1% of Singaporean households are connected to the internet. In October 2017, Singapore’s mobile penetration reached 148.8% with 3.4 million 3G subscriptions and 4.8 million 4G subscriptions. Singapore is a leading early adopter market for tablet ownership, with household penetration estimated at 54% at the end of 2014. The high adoption rate for mobile devices will drive mobile eCommerce, with 55% of online shoppers choosing to do their shopping via their mobile device, according to PayPal.
Singapore eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce