Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore isn’t exactly known for its low cost of living. Being an island city-state with no natural resources of its own, pretty much everything has to be imported, whether it’s the raw goods that are used to make domestic products or finished goods from other countries. That tends to make everything a bit more costly, including consumables and groceries. When everything costs more, everyone charges more, and it becomes important that the local population adjusts by making themselves a natural resource with the quality of goods and services they offer to consumers. Online shopping has become one of those services that makes life in Singapore more convenient despite the cost of living.
Online Shopping in Singapore
Singapore boasts an e-commerce trade that exceeds 5 billion dollars (Singapore) in annual revenue, a figure that is expected to grow to upwards of 8 billion dollars in 2020. Online shopping in Singapore started in 2002 strictly with groceries, something that every family needed and that shoppers typically spent a lot of time purchasing. Online grocery shopping started in Singapore earlier than it did in a number of other developed nations. Singapore is a fairly active city, and it’s not surprising that many Singaporeans quickly jumped on the opportunity to buy goods online, especially since many often work long hours and no one wants to have to hit the market on the way home from a long day at work. It was extremely convenient for a consumer to shop for groceries whenever time allowed and simply pick up their order when it was convenient to do so.
Driving Down Costs
In a city-state such as Singapore, with its extremely limited real estate availability, storefronts are only had at a fairly high premium, and the cost of real estate and rentals is a significant factor in the pricing of consumer goods. One of the stated goals of Singapore’s first online shopping service is to moderate the cost of living in Singapore by offering quality products at a great value to consumers of all walks of life. Without the overhead that it would take to stock, maintain, and staff a number of brick-and-mortar stores, online shopping services are able to keep costs low enough to offer the most competitive prices to their customers. It’s not surprising that Singaporeans have taken to online shopping as a significant means for purchasing goods, from hundreds of competitively priced essential items to even the Tiger beer now sold online in Singapore.
Convenience Offers Value
In a country where it has been said that shopping is the national pastime, online retailers have some pretty big shoes to fill. It is questionable as to whether online shopping can truly replace the experience of physically visiting a brick-and-mortar store, exploring the product options, experiencing the social interaction, and sometimes happening upon a product that you hadn’t considered but seems like a worthy purchase. Online shopping services have to offer enough value to consumers to replace the physical shopping experience, which they do by keeping prices low, expanding product options, and offering the convenience of purchasing necessary goods from a single service.