Singapore eCommerce Market Summary
Singapore balances a growing e-commerce industry with a love of physical retail
• Singapore’s shoppers enjoy world-class digital and physical infrastructure and a high gross domestic
product per capita, providing strong fundamentals for e-commerce. However, the island city-state’s
compact, largely urban nature also supports ongoing physical retail, suggesting an omnichannel
solution may be the best bet for ambitious merchants.
• Large international e-commerce platforms dominate. Shopee, Singaporean giant Lazada and Amazon
are the top three sites by monthly traffic. These platforms therefore provide a convenient point of entry for incoming merchants.
• Singapore is home to numerous e-commerce sales and marketing events. These include 4.4, 6.6 and 7.7, and Super Mart Month. In 2020, Shopee began courting the growing numbers of people dubbed ‘Cinderella shoppers’ – those who prefer to shop between midnight and 2 a.m. – with its first ‘Midnight Mega Sale’, with reductions only available between these hours.
In Singapore, slow and steady sales growth is expected with high annual spending a bonus for merchants
Singapore’s business to consumer e-commerce market is worth US $5.8 billion, and has been steadily expanding year-on-year. This growth was arrested in 2020, due to the outsized impact the pandemic had on the travel and tourism sector.
E-commerce now takes a 11 percent share of total retail,5 and 68 percent of the population have
shopped online. This relatively high online shopper penetration combined with a modest share of total
retail contributes to a conservative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) prediction of 8.7 percent
to 2024. When Singaporeans do shop online, they spend in high amounts; the average online basket spend is
US $1,442.7 a year, one of the higher rates out of the countries included in our report series.
Mobile shopping set to be supported in Singapore by ultra-fast 5G in 2021
The scales have tipped to favor mobile commerce over desktop-based shopping in Singapore, with 51 percent of e-commerce now completed on a mobile,9 making for a US $3 billion market in 2020. The mobile commerce market is expected to develop at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent to 2024. Expansion will be boosted by the Singapore government’s plan to roll out two ultra-fast 5G mobile internet networks across the city state by 2025.
Cards dominate Singapore’s
online payment habits
With good debit and credit card penetration (1.61 debit cards and 1.47 credit cards per capita),12 Singapore’s citizens prefer to pay by plastic when spending online13 – 63 percent of transactions are completed using this method. Digital wallets take second place with a 21 percent market share, and bank transfers come third with 10 percent of closed transactions. In line with rising smartphone-based mobile commerce, card use is set to decline slightly to 2024, taking a 58 percent market share by this point. Meanwhile, digital wallets are projected to grow to take 28 percent of all online payments by 2024. PayPal
and NETSPay are popular digital wallet brands, while bank transfers are typically made via the domestic
network scheme NETS.
Cross-border commerce outweighs domestic shopping, making Singapore a key target for overseas merchants
Most online shoppers have already made a purchase from another country (78 percent), so international
merchants will likely find a receptive and experienced potential customer base in Singapore. In fact, Singaporeans are more likely to buy with international merchants than domestic ones – meaning cross-border e-commerce is a vital part of online shopping culture in Singapore, taking more than half of all sales (55 percent). China (47 percent), the U.S. (31 percent) and South Korea (15 percent) take the lion’s share of the cross-border market. In addition, Singapore’s excellent air and road infrastructure
supports prompt delivery of international orders.
Singapore’s consumers are driving steady e-commerce growth as physical retail continues to remain popular
Live streaming becomes a hot discussion topic in Singapore and offers the chance
to engage and inspire customers
Live streaming is a key driver of e-commerce growthin Singapore, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and consumers spending hours at home on social media sites. There was a 40-fold increase in brands and merchants using this method to market and sellto consumers in 2020, and conversations about live streams and the gamification of online shopping rose by 1,890 percent on social media. The digital infrastructure to support social commerce is being quickly adopted in Singapore, with AI-powered
chatbots increasingly being deployed to guide shoppers and automate orders.
Source: JP Morgan Singapore Ecommerce Market Report