Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 8/4/2017

Singapore’s eCommerce market is growing fast helped by its pervasive, ultrahigh 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. Online shopping in Singapore tripled from S$1.1 billion in 2010 to S$3.5 billion in 2014, and forecasted to grow to as much as S$46.3 billion in 2020.  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.  The Singapore government envisioned the country 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.

Cross-Border eCommerce
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
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.

eCommerce Services
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 100 airlines serving some 380 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, home to more than 120 international shipping groups. 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
Misrepresentation Act
Computers Misuse Act
Copyright 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, and Honestbee.

Online Payment
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.

Mobile eCommerce
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.

Digital Marketing
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.

Social Media
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), 86% of Singaporean households are connected to the internet. In December 2016, Singapore’s mobile penetration reached 149.8% 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.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Singapore eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce