Singapore shoppers blend online and offline retail for savings and convenience

Photo from Pixabay

Consumers in Singapore visit more than five (5.4) online retailers on average before deciding where to buy, according to a new ‘Singapore Retail Trends’ report commissioned by Amazon.

The report also found that over two-thirds (68.3%) of Singaporean shoppers look both online and in-store to find the best value for money.

The report, which was produced by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, highlighted the blurred lines of bricks and mortar and the online experience in Singapore.

This trend, known as ‘omnichannel retail’, accounted for over half (57.6%) of retail spend in 2022, and is expected to rise a further 21.2% over the next four years.

Online channels popular for price comparison and fun, while physical stores important for social connections
Although many physical stores are within walking distance in Singapore, consumers browse online for product details and read reviews on new and unusual items for fun and inspiration. 

  • Half (50.2%) of online shoppers in Singapore cite checking or comparing prices as a driver, emphasising their price sensitivity and access to a variety of shopping channels.
  • More than half (57.3%) look at online reviews and comparison sites before making a purchase, highlighting the importance of offering a seamless shopping experience and high-quality product information for businesses to win the trust of consumers.
  • Almost one in three (29.3%) online shoppers cite browsing for fun as a driver for “e-window shopping”, higher than in any Southeast Asian countries, creating potential business opportunities for ad-hoc purchases.
  • People see benefits in shopping both online and in-store – almost one half (48.2%) shoppers visit stores for inspiration and ideas before buying online, while the other half (48.8%) browses online first before going to a shop. 

Browsing online products and reviews before making an in-store purchase, visiting stores for inspiration before buying online, and asking for advice in physical shops are key drivers of omnichannel spend.

“The findings confirm the trends we’re seeing in consumers’ evolving preferences and access to more choices. Such shopping patterns create new opportunities for businesses to reach and engage customers across multiple touchpoints, highlighting the importance of local and cross-border ecommerce as part of an omnichannel strategy,” said Leo Laforgia, Amazon Singapore Country Manager.

“This year particularly, inflation is a key concern for retailers and consumers alike, so price and convenience remain top-of-mind. By investing in sustainable omnichannel strategies, prioritising customer preferences, protecting their brand, as well as thinking long-term for international growth, businesses can offer unique and holistic value to their customers and succeed,” said Laforgia.

Singapore’s post-pandemic recovery creates omnichannel opportunities for retailers

The retail sector in Singapore was quick to recover from the pandemic and is forecast to continue growing till 2026. Recoveries in air travel and tourism as well as major international events such as the F1 Grand Prix will continue to benefit the retail sector.

However, consumers in Singapore have identified inflation as a major concern – more than nine in ten (93%) are either concerned or very concerned as the cost of living rises.

“Consumers in Singapore are most concerned about inflation compared to other shoppers in Southeast Asia – here’s where having access to multiple shopping channels matters. The majority of Singapore consumers are already looking across multiple retailers online and in-store to find the best value for money,” says Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData’s retail division.

“As such, the lines between online and offline are becoming increasingly blurred – which is fuelling a consumer appetite for omnichannel experiences, whether it’s researching online before buying in-store, click-and-collect or returning online purchases to physical stores. Such behaviour will likely increase as consumers become savvier with their discretionary spending while navigating a tough economic environment,” added Saunders.