Are you thinking of shopping in Singapore? If yes, take a moment to read our review of the top e-commerce websites in Singapore below. Shopping has become easy and convenient for everyone. Due to the online market place, you no longer need to physically move from one location to another, to buy what you need. The mobile phone, laptop or computer has become the shopping tool; all you need is an internet connection and the right website.
Financial experts in Singapore say that e-commerce is so popular and profitable, that sales are likely to surpass S$7 billion by 2025. The success of Singapore e-commerce is because it has a very digitally-savvy population. The digital economy is quite mature; this makes it a very attractive place for e-commerce platforms. We will review some of the top e-commerce websites in Singapore and possibly give you a good idea of where to shop.
The Alibaba owned Redmart is a great platform for homemakers. Through the website, you can do the shopping for any home Essentials. Whether you’re shopping for grocery, baby care products, your favourite bottle of wine, pet food, among others, don’t worry, you will find it all here.
If you are a fan of fresh food including fruits, seafood, and vegetables, you will particularly enjoy Redmart because they seem to have a specialty in this.
The Redmart e-commerce platform was established in 2011 by Roger Egan III, Vikram Rupani and Rajesh Lingapp. The driving idea for the platform is that they want to help customers save money and time when they’re doing the grocery shopping.
The timelines for deliveries is 2 hours, and the services are available every day of the week.
Over 1.25 million people patronize the website every month.
Honestbee is a direct competitor to RedMart. It made an entry into the Singapore e-commerce platform in July 2015. It aspired to become Asia’s leading delivery service and online concierge. When you get onto their homepage, their welcome note “hey smart cookie, how can I help you today” is quite catchy.
They have a wide range of services including, laundry; done within two days, food; that comes in minutes, and groceries; that you get on the same day from your favourite stores.
To make your life easier, Honestbee has partnered with supermarket chains in Singapore. They will deliver groceries to your doorstep thereby taking away the stress of time-consuming daily chores from you.
Reebonz is a great e-commerce platform for anyone who likes the finer things in life, with regard to fashion. If you’re looking for watches, jewellery, shoes, new bags, pre-owned bags among other items, and this is a great website for you. With over 100,000 products in their stock, there is something for everyone.
Reebonz is so popular that its membership runs into the millions. They stock items from designers like Fendi, Prada, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Chloe, and etc. They also have a section that deals exclusively with Asian designers.
You will be very pleased when you receive your package has it comes in a Black Box with a golden ribbon. We can only guess that the platform has to live up to its reputation as a luxury item marketplace.
If you’d like to connect directly with the sellers, you can use the Reebonz app for that.
HipVan is a Singapore e-commerce website that started in 2013. It deals with home furniture. Whether you are looking for lifestyle pieces or designer furniture, you are likely to get them here. They have various designs Including industrial chic, contemporary, vintage, classic or resort style furniture.
Hip Van is a great place to shop because even if you do not have a lot of money, you still get access to high-quality products. Best of all, you do not have to deal with high retail mark-ups. You also have 100 days home trial period.
The website is easy to use, and you can shop for furniture by rooms. The website also has a home ware section where you can get rugs, mirrors, drink-ware, cookery-ware, bed essentials, home organization stuff like tissue boxes and Waste bins, among others.
If you would like some interior decor tips, go to the blog section known as ‘inspiration’ and get professional advice.
This Singaporean e-commerce platform will do free delivery and assembly for you.
The Qoo10 changed its name from Gmarket in 2012 after its rebranding. It is a very popular e-commerce website in Singapore. Giosis, a joint venture company found in partnership with the American company eBay runs the platform. What makes this website one of the top e-commerce websites in Singapore is the fact that they deal with everything you could need.
The website caters for women’s fashion, beauty and diet, men and sport, digital and mobile, food and dining, and baby and kids. If you are looking for Leisure and travel activities you can book tour packages, book hotel accommodation, get leisure activities among other items. Small and Medium Enterprises are very active on this platform, and the company encourages their involvement.
There is no limit to what they have for their customers, and it is easy to see why this website is very popular. It has partnerships with major shopping malls and retail chains. It also has branches in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and China.
Qoo10 aggressively pushes its products and regularly runs discounts and promotions. The aggressive marketing strategy has helped push its popularity, and many people keep going back.
As of 2018, the monthly traffic on the website was almost at 11,500,000 visitors.
Lazada is one of the pioneers in the e-commerce platforms having started operations in 2011. It has earned itself the name “Amazon of Southeast Asia.” Alibaba has had a controlling stake in Lazada since 2016.
Lazada has become a major online shopping destination. Singaporeans have a wide range of products to choose from including fashion, groceries, Sports equipment, toys, household goods, and electronics, among other items.
Some of the things that make it popular are the 10% discount when you subscribe to the site and the option of cash payment with delivery.
The platform is very popular with most retailers due to its wide consumer base. It is present in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. The website has a monthly traffic estimate of almost 10 million people
Zalora is another platform top e-commerce websites in Singapore and is great for those who are looking for fashion items. While marketing strategy seems to favour younger people, it, however, caters to anyone who is looking for trendy brands.
Zalora came into the Singapore market in 2012 and sells both local and International designer labels and brands.
Some of the brands the website stocks include premium items from Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Free People, French Connection, Lavish Alice, etc. The clothing brands include Dorothy Perkins, forever new, mango, Misguided, Something borrowed and Zalora among others.
The website stocks top sports brands like Nike, Puma, Reebok, Adidas, and Onitsuka Tiger among other items. The monthly traffic on the website is above 1.5 million visitors.
If you want tips on fashion, lifestyle, and beauty, you will find all these on the Zalora magazine content blog.. if you are not happy with your purchases, you have a 30-day window to return the goods. If you sign up for the newsletter, you get up to 15% off your order, and any purchases above $40 will qualify you for free delivery.
Even if you’re not in Singapore, you can access the Zalora platform in the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Taiwan. You have the option of using the mobile app or online platform.
One thing about that stands out about this platform, is the obvious attention to detail in terms of how user-friendly it is. For example, if you are looking for flip-flops, you will find them separate from slip-on shoes. It is therefore very easy to find whatever item you’re looking for on the platform.
As one of the top e-commerce websites in Singapore, Carousell Is the brainchild of Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan, all graduates of the National University of Singapore. The e-commerce platform is open to anyone who wants to buy or sell any kinds of items; whether new or old. Carousell leverages on mobile platforms, and all you need to do is install the app to sell or buy the products.
There is no limit to what you can find on the platform including cars, Property, Fashion, mobiles and electronics, jobs and services among others.
The website has a footprint in 13 cities including Singapore, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Hong Kong, among others. With more than 4.5 million visitors every month, it is a very popular website.
Carousell is doing very well as an e-commerce platform and has attracted investors like Golden Gate Ventures, Darius Cheung, Sequoia Capital, 500 Start-ups, and Rakuten Ventures.
eBay Singapore is the local site for the US website eBay. With an estimated two million visitors per month, you can get a whole range of goods and services Including vehicles, electronics, Industrial products etc. Customers have a large base of sellers to choose from. The platform is also very popular with retailers because of the large consumer base.
The mother website has an estimated 1.1 billion visits per month.
Alibaba Group owns AliExpress, and it is one of the top e-commerce websites in Singapore. The platform provides a market place for small businesses in Singapore and China. It sells a wide range of goods from all over the world.
There is almost no limit to the range of goods available on the platform. Whether you are a company or an individual, you are sure to find willing buyers and sellers on this site.
Ezbuy Singapore has a monthly traffic of more than 1.5 million visitors. The platform deals with family, home, beauty, and clothing among others. Most of the products are from America, Taiwan, and Korea. Other than Singapore, you will also find the platform in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The platform started us away for people to buy and ship things from popular destinations like China, Taiwan, US and other countries. The company has rebranded itself and is now focusing on being a forwarding company.
The company has a flat shipping fee for their prime customers which come in at less than $3. The flat fee has been a major pull for new customers
Shopee was founded in 2009 but made its entry into Singapore in 2015. It is now available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The e-commerce platform is present on mobile and has a strong social first centric business model.
Shopee Singapore can give buyers good prices because they do not charge sellers any commission. This means that the sellers do not have to mark up the prices to make a profit. Shopee will also collect payment on the seller’s behalf and release the money only when the buyer receives the items.
Looking for fashion items, mobile and gadgets, home appliances, video, computers, home, and living, among others, then this is the platform for you.
FairPrice On receives almost 1 million visitors every month. It is the online arm of Fairprice, a Singaporean grocery retailer. You will find almost any product on this e-commerce platform including baby products, electronics, health and beauty, lifestyle and pets, fresh food, and numerous other items.
You have the option of choosing from more than 13,000 products. The company uses data Analytics to understand the clients better and will send customer-centric promotions based on what the data says about a particular customer.
If you spend more than $59, you’ll get a home free delivery. You also have the option of picking your orders from 71 locations on orders above $29.
The platform is available on mobile or through the online portals. You get your deliveries to your doorstep, and you choose the most convenient time for you.
If you are looking for anything to do with IT, electrical, furniture or fashion, then you need to log in to Courts Singapore. The product offering comes from a network of 18 stores, and you’ll have more than 14000 lifestyle products to choose from.
Court Singapore has its foundation in England and retailers have access to more than 1.4 million customers.
Love, Bonito is a fashion e-commerce platform, and it features the Love, Bonito brand. The site is the brainchild of Rachel Lim, Viola Tan, and Velda Tan, and has been in existence since 2010.
On the Love, Bonito website, you will find the statement that Love, Bonito is created for real women by real women. It believes that by educating women to dress well, it will empower women by giving confidence.
Love, Bonito has a large Instagram following which is attributable to its focus on having a strong social media strategy. Other than Singapore, Love, Bonito is also in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
When you click on the link, you will be taken to the Sephora website where you choose your country of choice. This redirecting is because, in 2015, Sephora; a global cosmetics company bought Luxola; a Beauty and Cosmetics online platform from Singapore.
Whatever category you are looking for in Beauty and Cosmetics, you will find it here. You can find makeup, tools and brushes, skin care, bath and body, hair, or even gift items. The company deals with a wide range of Brands including Abercrombie and Fitch, Abyssian, Allies of Skin, Ardelle, among others.
This lifestyle e-commerce platform deals with things like clothing, lifestyle items, and accessories. Megafash caters to a very niche audience because it mainly features indie brands that are not typically in other e-commerce websites.
With over 600 brands to choose from, the platform works with brands dealing with indie arts movements and hopes to give them a platform on which they can flourish.
Smooch the Label
Smooch the Label is a fashion store that caters to women. It aims at providing stylish yet affordable clothing. Smooch is also a clothing label on the site. The e-commerce platform was the brainchild of Sarah Lim in 2010.
The online store has fresh off the runway clothes, and follow the latest trends and celebrity Styles. They also offer styling tips to clients.
As the name may suggest, this e-commerce platform sells eye-wear. The website is very attractive, and you get the impression that shopping for eyewear is a very exciting experience. A scroll at the top of the page will give you a quick look at the advantages you will receive when you shop with them. You will have benefits such as a free 30-day exchange, free eye test, affordable quality glasses, and complementary RX lenses among other types of eyewear.
The founders of the e-commerce platform believe that getting good-looking, good quality eyewear should not cost an arm and a leg. The eyewear products start from a price point of SGD$95,
Making it easy for anyone to own more than one type or style of eyewear. Visual Mass consider themselves rebels against the system.
You will, of course, have to get your prescription from an optometrist or an optician because they do not offer this service. Visual Mass makes buying eyewear seem exciting.
Books Actually is an independent bookstore and has a rare collection of books. If you are looking for critical work, obscure writing, and out-of-print titles, then you are in luck. Most of the books they sell are not available in other bookstores.
They also sell other things like tote bags, book clutches, stationery, CDs and DVDs among others.
Books Actually caters to a very niche market and will only display covers of each book; not the author or the price. Be careful with your purchase though, as goods once sold cannot be returned.
Shopback will give e-purchasers cash-back incentives. The cash back incentive is very popular in the US and the UK, and the Shopback founders felt that it would work well in Singapore.
The ShopBack e-commerce platform has a host of other e-merchants like Zalora, Lazada, Qoo10, and AliExpress, among others. Due to these partnerships with other merchants, you will find everything you could need including fashion items, electronics, and foods, among others.
If you are into labels, then you will enjoy shopping at Yoox. You can get designer items for less, whether you’re shopping for men, women or kids.
Some of the brands they carry include Dolce and Gabbana, Dior among others. If your shopping is above $250, you will get free delivery. You also have 30 days to return the purchases if you are not happy with them. If you want additional promotions and discounts all you need to do is register with the platform.
Guardian is a popular pharmacy chain in Singapore and the online store started operating in 2014. However, you can get so much more than just pharmaceutical products. The e-platform has categories like health, hair, skin, toiletry, mother, and baby, men among others.
Guardian by the way is a client of MediaOne. We help them dominate the digital space. Call us at 67899852 to ask us how.
Top Ecommerce Players in Singapore
Singapore, a Southeast Asian country with the largest economy, boasts a population of 5.71 million (which represents only 0.12 of the Asia population). It’s among the least populous countries in Asia – 9nth in Southeast Asia and 36th in Asia.
The majority of the country’s population is made up of young people (below the age of 34), with the ageing population expected to double up by 2030.
Singapore is a mature economy, with one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. While Southeast Asian countries are reported to have some of the highest rates of ecommerce adoption in the world, Singapore still falls below the global average of 75 percent — at 73 percent.
We gathered important statistical figures on ecommerce big wigs, popular ecommerce software, payment gateway, as well as marketing channel and so on – as created by ecommerceiq.
Top Ranking eCommerce Websites in Singapore
There aren’t so many home-grown players in Singapore operating on a marketplace business model.
Qoo10 and Lazada are the only recognizable B2C marketplaces in the country, unlike the Thailand and Indonesia where this is one of the most contested spaces for companies that are rolling in big money.
Singapore is catnip to global companies, thanks to its strategic location. It’s a ecommerce hub providing brand presence to companies that want to target customers in the nearby markets, including Malaysia and Indonesia.
A case in point is Adidas, which before opening a store in Indonesia, would serve regional orders from Singapore.
Not to forget Charles & Keith, a native brand which offers free shipping to a long list of countries with minimal purchase conditions.
A Close Race Between Two Domineering B2C ecommerce Marketplaces – Lazada and Qoo10
Qoo10 has dominated the B2C market for the longest time possible, until March 2019, when it was overtaken by Lazada. Analysts also expect the two to continue trailing each other for another year.
In the second quarter of the year (2019), Lazada clocked an average of 7.55 million visits (both desktop and mobile), with Qoo10 trailing at his heels with 7.16 million visits.
Lazada usurped Qoo10 from the first position by driving the highest number of visits, with experts expecting the number to continue rising.
Lazada’s achievement has been attributed to pricing and Qoo10 losing part of its pricing advantage to Lazada and Shoppee.
Another plausible explanation to Lazada’s sudden rise to the top position and gaining an edge over its competitors is its recent collaborations with global brands. It all started in March when they went into agreement with 12 leading global brands in different sections. Among these companies were the Shenzhen-based smartphone manufacturer, Realme and a well-known smart TV brand Coocaa, owned by Huawei and Skyworth RGB.
Traffic (according to Similar Web) 25th November 2019
Rank in the Country
25th November 2019
Alexa Ranking: #15 Singapore
Monthly Visitors: 8.53 million (according to similar web).
Year Established: 2012
Lazada is an international B2C and C2C ecommerce store founded by German’s Rocket Internet in 2012. The company is owned by Alibaba, with its headquarters in Singapore.
A few years after its launch the company would rise to become one of the leading ecommerce marketplaces in Singapore, and the whole of Southeast Asia.
Not long-ago Alibaba decided to pump into the company an additional $4 billion investment, giving it more resources to compete against fast-rising newcomers such as Shopee.
The company’s main source of revenue in the past was the commission charges on the sales made through the platform. But they’ll choose to scrap it off by charging zero commissions so that they could compete with the likes of Shopee and Qoo10.
This would see to it that it surpasses Qoo10 as the ecommerce marketplace with the highest number of visits.
As it stands, the company’s main source of revenue is the fee it charges sellers for sponsoring their product posts.
Alexa Ranking: 25
Monthly Visits: 7.19 million (11th 25, 2019)
Year Established: 2008
Qoo10 has been a dominant ecommerce player since 2017, until recently when Lazada took over. It now sits at the second position.
Its success is mainly attributed to their relatively low prices, compared to that of its competitors.
One common feature of this ecommerce platform is the ‘Group Buy,’ which allows buyers to enjoy huge discounts on flash sales.
Q0010 makes money by charging commissions on the successful sales made through the platform.
Niche Market Places
Lazada and Qoo10 are the domineering forces in marketplace, while the rest of ecommerce sites compete among themselves in the niche.
Fashion and Apparel
Fashion & apparel is among the most competitive market segments in Singapore. In this category is a smorgasbord of local brands, such as Love Bonito and Dressable; regional brands such as Zalora and Reebonz; and global brands such as Adidas.
Category: B2C Fashion e-tail
Alexa Ranking: 80
Monthly Visitors: 1.70 million
Year Established: 2012
Zalora is leading niche B2C ecommerce platform in Singapore. It’s a sister site to Lazada, and currently, the biggest fashion ecommerce website in the country,
The platform accommodates hundreds of both and global fashion brands for both men and women.
The company’s main source of revenue are the profits it makes through the clothes it sells, which they started making this year (2019).
Before that, the platform wasn’t profiting on the sales it makes.
Category: Fashion e-tail
Alexa Ranking: 660
Monthly Visitors: 396K
Year Established: 2006
LoveBonito was established in 2006. It’s one of the pioneers of fashion ecommerce in the country, having started out as a blog shop.
The company specialised in modern fashion wear for women in Singapore.
Initially, the company went with the name BonitoChico, until 2010 went it was rebranded to LoveBonito.
In 2018, the company was able to raise $13million, which they used to expand their operations in Singapore and the whole of Asia-Pacific region.
As with many other retail ecommerce platforms, LoveBonito main source of income is the profit it makes from selling fashion pieces on the platform.
Category: B2C Fashion e-tail
Alexa Ranking: 1856
Monthly Visitors: 360K
Year Established: 2009
Reebonz started as a platform for selling pre-loved luxury handbags in Singapore. It has however grown to cover the whole of Australasia.
Th company targets customers from the whole of Asia-Pacific region. It’s one of the most established vendors of luxury products, not just in Singapore, but the whole of Southeast Asia. At the time of writing this the company operates with a staff of more than 300 employees, with its operations straddling eight different countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
The company’s main source of revenue is the profit it makes from selling the luxury bags.
Category: B2C Fashion e-tail
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 11, 135
Monthly Visitors: 21.76K
Year established: 2008
Dressabelle was started in 2008 as the platform foe selling women’s workwear and weekend outfits.
The platform catalogues modern female wear, with a special focus on what’s trending. It’s one of the leading fashion ecommerce stores, selling all kinds of ladies’ fashion – from office wear, to evening wear and bridesmaid dresses.
They have a stunning collection of female clothing, offered at affordable rates to Singaporean women.
The company also operates a concept shop that they use to cater for the ever-growing demand for the clothes that they sell.
Category: Makeup e-tail
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 638
Monthly Visitors: 320.67K
Year established: 2011 (as Luxola)
Sephora was started as Luxola by Alexis Horowitz in 2011. It would be sold to the LVMH group in 2011, who rebranded it to Sephora.
At the time of writing this, Sephora is the domineering force in the luxury makeup space in Singapore and Malaysia.
They also have a physical store in Singapore, which is part of the reason the company is so successful in the country.
The main source of Sephora’s money is the profit it makes by selling makeup products.
Food and Grocery
Category: Online Grocery
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 109
Monthly visitors: 1.57 million
Year established: 2011
Redmart is the most dominant grocery shopping store in Singapore. Besides making door-to-door deliveries for groceries, the company wins it big for offering discounts for a selected list of items.
The company was acquired by Lazada in 2016, and even though it’s yet to start raking in profits, the company is thought to be doing well.
The company’s only source of money at this point are the profits it makes on the items that are sold through the platform.
Category: Food and Drink B2C Ecommerce
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 117
Monthly Visitors: 1.40M
FoodPanda is a German food delivery marketer place operating in 40 different countries, including Singapore. The company is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and it’s designed to allow users to choose among local restaurant and place an order via the mobile and web app.
At the time of writing this, FoodPanda has partnered with more than 27, 095 restaurants, spread across 193 cities.
They’ve also enlisted more than 15, 733 food riders that ensure their deliveries are made on time.
The company was sold to Delivery Hero Group in 2016.
Category: Food and Drink B2C E-tail
Alexa Rank in Singapore: 9688
Monthly Visitors: 67, 000 (According to Traffic Estimate – 11th 25 2019)
Year Established: 23rd July, 2015
Honestbee is an online food delivery and grocer service company, which also offers concierge and percel delivery services for their B2B clients.
The company makes deliveries for personal shoppers that are looking to pick products for their clients. Consumers can utilise the company’s website and mobile app for interface with restaurants.
The company was started in 2015, and has grown to launch extensions in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Bangkok, and Taiwan.
Honestbee started having money problems at the beginning of the year, which forced them to lay off about 38 of their staff, and even suspending their operations in five countries.
Although the company is far from regaining their footing and making money, the company recently re-strategized and are hoping to start making money by increasing their volume and driving down their unit spent.
Category: B2C Food and Drinks, Grocery
Monthly Visitors: 196K
Alexa Ranking Singapore: 1, 200
Year Established: 1903
ColdStorage is a widely known grocery supermarket chain in Singapore. Everything in their outlet can be ordered directly from their online store.
The company’s main sources of revenue are the profits it makes by selling products on their web platform.
Home and Living
Category: B2C Ecommerce shop
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 639
Monthly Visitors: 313K
Year Established: 2013
FortyTwo is a leading home furnishing website in Singapore. With more than 20, 000 furnishing pieces listed on the site, it’s likely that every furniture item you’re interested in can be found on the site.
The company’s main source of revenue are the profits it makes through the products it sells on the platform.
Category: B2C Furniture
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 1167
Monthly Traffic: 200.51K
Year Established: 2013
HipVan is a popular online store for homeware, furniture, and lifestyle products. The platform stock more than 5, 000 design items.
They’re a preferred choice for furniture items, and it’s mostly for offering variety and partly due to their honest prices.
The company’s main source of income are the profits it makes by selling items on their platform.
Category: B2C Ecommerce Furniture Shop
Alexa Ranking in Singapore: 11, 452
Monthly Visitors: 23, 700
Year Established: 1981
Star living is an ecommerce store offering a wide range of furniture products in Singapore. The company sells all kinds of furniture items – from tables and sofas, to beds and TV stands.
They have one of the richest catalogues that you can browse through and never run out of items to buy.
As with the other ecommerce retailers, the company’s main source of money are the profits it makes through the items it sells on the platform.
Ecommerce Stats in Singapore
Nearly 5 million Singaporeans use the internet – which accounts for about 85% of the total population. That’s according to GlobalWebIndex, in a report that also goes on to show that three-quarters of users between the age of 16 and 64 do their shopping online.
The same report also goes on to show that on average, each Singaporean spends more than S$1, 370 online annually. That’s a significant headway from the previous S$866 spent.
The ecommerce industry itself is growing super-fast, having increased by more than 20% last years.
The Current State of Ecommerce in Singapore
The ecommerce market in Singapore is huge. At almost $5 billion (in 2019), the market is only second to that of Indonesia (which hangs at $1 billion).
Singapore’s ecommerce market size trumps that of its closest neighbour (Malaysia), which hangs at $3.75billion.
With only 4.1 million ecommerce users, compared to Indonesia’s 147 Million, Singapore boasts the highest Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) – at $1, 222, compared to Malaysia’s $185.06 and Indonesia’s $75.66.
From the figures, we can deduce that Singapore’s shoppers spend 16 times more money online compared to Indonesian’s shoppers and 7 times more compared to Malaysian’s.
That’s a huge margin, and it just goes on to confirm how huge the ecommerce market in Singapore really is.
For an opportunist, that means there’s more money to be made online in Singapore than anywhere else.
We’ll try to dig deeper into the ecommerce landscape in Singapore. We’ll zoom in to the available ecommerce opportunities, and look at some of the challenges that you’re likely to face while entering Singapore’s ecommerce market.
The point is to ensure that we supply you with all the information you need to make a well-calculated decision on how to best enter the market and position yourself for success. Ecommerce History in Singapore
The ecommerce landscape in Singapore has been developing gradually. Much of what you’re able to see have been built over an accumulated period of time, by different key players, each of which had something to contribute.
Let’s look at some of the big moments that together helped to shape up the world of ecommerce in Singapore:
- In 2004, eBay sets foot in Singapore and launches eBay.sg.
- In 2008, Gmarket (which would rebrand to Qoo10 in 2012) launches in Singapore. This Korean-based company would be acquired by eBay in 2009 for $1.2 billion.
- In 2010, 68DaiGou launches in Singapore, as a channel for Singaporeans to shop directly from China through agents. The company would later be rebranded to EzBuy.
- In November 2010, Groupon acquires Beeconomic, founded by two brothers Chris and Karl Chong and launch it as an ecommerce platform using the name Groupon Singapore.
- In November 2011, RedMart is launched in the country as the first grocery delivery service and online supermarket.
- In May 2012, three graduates from Ngee Ann Polytechnic team up to launch Carousell as the first peer to peer (P2P) marketplace in the country.
- That same year (2012), German’s Internet Rocket launches Lazada and Zalora, to join in the race, longer before Amazon and Alibaba had even eyed the market.
- December 2013, Rakuten launches in the country.
- In June 2015, Garena (which currently goes by the name SEA Group) launches Shopee.
- In July 2015, HonestBee joined the race as food delivery and online grocery service.
- In February 2016, Rakuten opted for the door, exiting Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
- In April 2016, Alibaba made an entry into the country by acquiring a 51 percent stake for $1 billion in Lazada. This makes them the majority shareholder.
- In November 2016, Lazada decided to buy off RedMart for an undisclosed amount. This gives them the excuse to venture into the online supermarket business.
- In March 2017, KFIT acquired Groupon Singapore.
- In July 2017, Amazon makes an entry into the country with Amazon Prime. Singapore becomes the first market in Southeast Asia to have attracted the attention of this industry bigwig.
- In March 2018, Alibaba decides to pump in a further $2 billion into Lazada to increase its stakes and take full control.
- In December 2018, a Chinese public listed company called LightInTheBox decides to acquire EzBuy for $86 million.
- In March 2019, RedMart shuts down redmart.com to instead go as Lazada’s subdomain.
How the Ecommerce Players are Currently Doing
This is how the ecommerce space in Singapore has been building up over time. We’re now in 2019, ready to usher in 2020. So how are these ecommerce sites doing? What’s each one of them doing to remain competitive and take a bigger share of the ecommerce cake?
As it stands, latest report indicate that the ecommerce market is dominated by Lazada, with Qoo10 coming in second. Qoo010 has been the most dominant force until recently when Lazada closed in on them and usurped them from the first position.
It has however been projected that the two will keep on overtaking each other for another year or two. So, don’t expect Lazada to remain in the number one spot for long, unless otherwise.
With many company’s flexing their financial muscles and becoming even more aggressive in the manner at which they’re handling their competition, the competition to hold the number one spot is at an all-time high.
Qoo10 has been dominating the market since 2017, until recently when Lazada took over. Holding the third spot is Carousell, and if the trend continues, they’re also likely to displace Qoo10.
The fastest rising player in this space, and the latest contender in Singapore’s top 5 list of popular ecommerce websites is Shopee.
This ecommerce shop is rising in the ranks at a rate that’s likely to give the likes of Qoo10 sleepless nights. It’s the force to watch or the ecommerce shop to beat if you’re also aiming for the biggest slice of that ecommerce cake.
Shopee now presents itself as fierce an ecoomerce store as any other contender on the list.
If anything, they have the second most popular mobile app in the market, surpassing even Carousell, the first ecommerce store to ever launch a mobile app.
Most Popular Ecommerce Mobile Apps in Singapore
Apple Store Ranking
It’s an overcrowded space, but the fact that Shopee was able to rise to the top means there’s room for one other player. What you need is good strategy and execution and you can have a spot among the top five.
Another notable contender is the big cheese in the ecommerce space, Amazon Prime. It’s safe to say that they’re still studying the market, while hiding their cards under the table. Their next move might be the next big thing in the country, and which may completely turn the table on all the contenders.
When Amazon launched their Amazon Prime in Singapore, everyone thought that it was just a matter of time before they took over the market. But as it turns out, Amazon is a bit lackluster in their approach, and it’s hard to guess if they have any interest in the Singapore’s market or if their interest is constrained in the US.
If Amazon decides to shift part of their attention and divert it in Singapore, then there’s a fair chance that they’ll be able to outcompete the efforts applied by the likes of Qoo10, Shopee, and Lazada.
But until then, their success so far doesn’t warrant any attention.
Carousell and Qoo10 have enjoyed the top spot for far too long, and now they’re facing fierce competition from two fast-rising contenders, Shopee and Lazada.
Quick Highlights on the Online Behaviour of Singapore Shoppers
Let’s take a break from online sellers and divert our attention to online shoppers on Singapore. How do they Behave?
A simple breakdown of Datareportal’s research findings:
The Percentage number of people who’ve Performed it
Searched online for products or services before buying them
Visited an ecommerce store after searching for a product or service online
Proceeded to Purchase a Product Online
Bought something online via a laptop or desktop
Bought something online via a mobile device
- Online shoppers in Singapore spend the highest on travelling and accommodation, which totals to $3.641 billion.
Electronics and media come second, with a total of $1.080 billion, while beauty and fashion hangs in the third position with a total of $999 billion.
- The fastest-growing ecommerce category is Food & grocery, which grew by about 47% last year.
They’re closely followed by Toys, Do-it-Yourself & Hobbies, which grew by 40% in the last year, with electronics and physical media coming in third, having grown by a good 31% in the last year.
- The total ecommerce spent only accounts for 4% of the total amount of money that Singaporeans spend on retail. That just shows there’s an even bigger room to target.
- E-wallets were the preferred choice for 10% of online shoppers in Singapore. That’s 6% more than the 4% e-wallets payments made at the point of sale.
- Credit card remain as the most popular and many Singaporeans preferred choice of making payment online. 66% of shoppers in Singapore prefer this payment option over any other option out there.
Overall, Singapore has one of the most active shoppers in the whole of Asia Pacific region. They’re tech-savvy and easy to adopt new technologies.
Ecommerce Logistics and Fulfilment
As the ecommerce landscape continues to grow, the logistics and fulfilment sectors have no option but to keep up with the pace. On top of doorstep deliveries, other services are popping up, and which are making online shopping even more convenient to customers.
Doorstep deliveries services such as SingPost are the most common, with last-mile delivery companies starting to pick up.
Online sellers also have services such as Lalamove and NinjaVan, which provide on-demand van deliveries with the help of a huge network of drivers.
Collection points deliveries are also becoming a commonplace in the country, with companies providing locker boxes that shoppers can use to collect their items at convenient spots, doled out all across the country.
With this option, buyers don’t have to wait for the delivery person back at home. Instead, they’ll be informed when a delivery has been made so they can collect their item using a one-time password from a nearby locker.
Companies which Offer Collection Point Deliveries
- Parcel Santa: This company provides lockers at condominiums. Shoppers are notified once their item has been delivered and send an OTP that they can use to collect it.
- PostStations: The company has lockers that are strategically located all around the country.
- Park N Parcel: This company drops an item at your neighbours’ house, thus allowing you to pick it at your own convenience.
- NinjaVan has so many collection points that shoppers can take advantage of, and which covers almost all parts of the country. They also have retail partners where they drop items, thus allowing shoppers to pick them from there at their own convenience.
- Locker Alliance was created by SingPost to increase the number of collection point they have at Punggol area.
For sellers that are looking for a warehouse or fulfilment services in the country, here’s a list of companies offering the service:
The Challenges Affecting E-Commerce Landscape in Singapore
Now that we’ve established that the ecommerce space in Singapore is full of opportunities, let’s zoom in to some of the challenges chocking up the ecommerce sector.
The first challenge, and the most obvious one, is the limited population in Singapore. At 5.85 million, Singapore has the second smallest population in the whole of ASEAN region.
While they have the highest ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), this ecommerce space can easily get crowded.
Also, Singapore is one of the prime targets of global ecommerce stores, which further stiffens the competition. Their good logistics infrastructure and the tech-savvy nature of its shoppers, makes it one of the easier markets to make an entry, and catnip for foreign investors.
What’s the Best Platform to Build an Ecommerce Store?
Wix, the drag-and-drop website building platform you know, has one of the most advanced ecommerce platforms you’ll ever come across.
With this platform, you can sell virtually anything – from clothing and grocery items to electronic and digital products, their ecommerce system is surprisingly as good as any other ecommerce option you can think of, advanced enough to be pitted against the industry leaders such as Shopify or Big Commerce.
For a start, Wix offers all the standard ecommerce features that you’d expect to find in any ecommerce platform.
Their list of features might not be on the same scale as Shopify, but the platform does pack all the essential features you need to set up a professional-looking ecommerce store.
The most notable feature on Wix ecommerce is their easy to use dashboard, not to forget the drag-and-drop interface which works well for beginners.
They also have an app market, where you can purchase lots of cool add-ons such as receipts and contact forms.
The platform allows you to quickly add a new product page, integrate your site with social media, and even upload images and play around with different shapes and buttons.
They have a seamless message-based checkout process that’s very secure. And once a shopper finalises a purchase, a thank you messages pops up confirming everything.
How to Develop an Ecommerce Website in Singapore
Shopping online is relatively easy. All you have to do is go through a list of available items and select all the items that you wish to buy. These items will then be added to the cart, after which you can proceed to checkout to make payments.
The next thing you want to do is specify payment methods and shipping address and wait for the item to be delivered right at your doorstep.
But wait until someone asks you to design an ecommerce platform and the narrative changes.
There’s a definite process to follow while creating an ecommerce platform. And while you still have to consult with a professional on some parts of it, a fair knowledge of how the different pieces fall in place could help you get started on the right foot.
With that said, here are the steps you can follow to build your ecommerce store from scratch:
Decide on the Products that you wish to sell
Assuming you had your light bulb moment before you had thought this far, then this is where you head back to the drawing board and try to flesh up your idea.
You have two options when it comes to this. The first one is where you sell varied items on your site, and the second one is where you stick to only one line of products. For instance, you could decide to sell garments, gym equipment, and accessories (a nice niche to explore if you’re still stuck on the idea to choose), fashion items, travel plans, filming equipment, sports good, audio equipment, garments, and so forth.
This is something you want to decide right at the outset of conceptualising the idea. It’s however important that you weigh on the local demand for it. Make sure there’s a substantial number of buyers for the product.
For some reason, Singaporeans love purchasing from local vendors. They tend to trust them more, partly because it comes with faster deliveries, quicker replacements in case of defective shipments, and better payment terms.
Choose a Business Model
The business model you choose depends on the requirements you have. You have about two options when it comes to this.
The first one is selling on an online marketplace such as Shopee, Qoo10, Lazada, Redmart, or Shopee.
The next option is setting up your own ecommerce store. You also have the option of cross-channelling, where you sell the products on both platforms.
Choose a Domain Name
Your ecommerce site needs a domain name or business name. This will be the name that your business will be known for – and which will also be doubling as your site’s URL.
The name you choose must be relevant to the items that you intend to sell. Other than that, it should be easy to remember and memorise. And even more important is that is should give your business an identity, and make it easier for your customers to recognise you.
Remember, you only need a name when you’re setting up your own website and not when you’re planning to sell your products on a marketplace. For that, you’ll be sharing the name of that marketplace.
Choose an ecommerce Builder or Platform
Building an ecommerce website is a lot easier than you think with the right platform. You have options aplenty when it comes to this.
You can choose to run your website on a CMS program such as WordPress or Joomla, where you’ll be running everything on your own. This is a bit complicated as it involves purchasing a domain name and hosting elsewhere, before installing the CMS and finally an ecommerce theme and plugin.
It’s a lengthy process if you’ve never worked with the CMS before. Works only if your development skills aren’t so badly off.
An easier option would be to settle for a platform that has been specifically designed for ecommerce. Examples include Magento or Shopify. These platforms will provide you with the frameworks and all the necessary logistics needed to run a functioning ecommerce store. Just sign up on the site, and you’ll be guided on the whole procedure of setting up an online store on the platform.
The platform you choose will also vary depending on the type of features that you wish to see on your site.
For instance, some platforms have a well-developed system that allows you to place discounts on your products, integrate your tool with third-party analytics and marketing tools, and accept multiple currencies on your site.
You might want to do some little bit of research on this before choosing a platform.
Designing Your Ecommerce Store
After choosing a platform, the next step would be to go ahead and design your online store on the platform.
Remember, you’re designing everything to the convenience of your target buyers. You can start by making the site intuitive enough to facilitate easy use.
The website must also contain details of the products that you’ll be selling. Be sure to list their description, prices, and ratings. Your products should also be accompanied by quality images and comments from past users.
With everything that you do, make sure you display your products perfectly so that your buyers will have a clear picture of what to expect when you finally deliver the product to them.
Your website must be attractive and well-branded at the same time. They must represent your brand to the finest detail, and be consistent with your brick-and-mortar store and social media presence.
Set up Payments and Decide on Pricing
There’re three key things to consider while setting up payments on your ecommerce website.
- How will you be pricing the products?
- How will customers be paying you?
- How will you be transferring these payments into your bank account?
It doesn’t matter if you have a physical store or just setting everything from scratch. You have several factors to consider when choosing a price for your products, and they include:
- The cost of the material you used on each product item
- The cost of ecommerce hosting
- The fees deducted by cash transfer services such as PayPal or credit card
- Packaging and so forth
Secure Your Site by Installing an SSL Certificate
You need to secure your site by installing a secured security layer (SSL). This should encrypt your data files and prevent them from getting intercepted during transfer.
You need to install the certificate to keep your site secure and build trust among your customers. Google itself recommends that you install the certificate. Meaning this is not something to contemplate on, but straight up take the advice as is and get it done as soon as you can.
Otherwise, you’ll be risking losing a good number of potential customers. It’s even worse because web browsers now mark sites without the certificate as insecure.
Select a Shipping Partner
By selling your products online, that means your customers expect you to deliver the products they order right at their doorsteps. For that, you need a trusted provider of courier services in Singapore.
This is something you might want to look into if you’re planning to set up your own ecommerce store instead of going with a marketplace.
The point is to find an agency that offers better shipping charges at the lowest cost possible. You need this to enhance your profit value and to avoid over-burdening your customers by making them shoulder the extra cost.
There goes a step by step guide on how to set up an ecommerce store in Singapore. This is just as basic as the process can get. After this you might want to find another guide on how to set up an ecommerce store on, say, Shopify, Magento, or any other ecommerce platform that you prefer.
With that, you should be able to narrow down to the specifics – but in the meantime, this basic guide should help you plan and understand what you’re expected to do.
What’s the Best Platform to Build an Online Store in Singapore?
Each ecommerce platform out there has its share of strengths and weakness, and enough reason to justify why you should be using it in place of any other platform.
Shopify is the most popular option, followed by WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and a long list of other ecommerce platforms that we won’t be covering on this article.
Shopify is the most popular option on the list. It’s also ranked and voted in as the best ecommerce platform on the market, and that’s partly due to its enhanced functionality and usability.
It’s a Canadian-based ecommerce solution that was founded in 2004, and since then the platform has been razor-focused on helping brands from all parts of the globe set up ecommerce stores for their business.
Shopify stands tall over all of its competitors for packing lots of advanced features. Among them is the abandoned cart recovery feature, which allows you to make follow-ups to customers that fell off without going through with a purchase.
The platform also packs tons of modern themes and plugins that you can use to set up your site and get it up and running in a matter of minutes. They also allow you to integrate your Shopify account directly with your Facebook page for just SGD 12 and convert it into a fully-functional ecommerce store.
They have a mobile-friendly shopping cart that allows your customers to shop directly from their mobile devices without missing out on anything.
They also have one of the most reliable customers support systems and a series of detailed tutorials and community threads that you can refer to whenever you incur any hardship while using the platform.
The most spoken downside is the issue of the additional transactional fee imposed on you when you choose to use a different payment method other than Shopify Payment.
Also, you’ll be required to upgrade your subscription plan to enjoy plenty of its useful and practical extensions.
Even more challenging is the language used to design the platform, “liquid.” Finding a developer who understands this language can be a bit of challenge in case you want to make some changes on your site at the code level. That means, you may be forced to contact the platform owners for the changes you wish to make – and let’s remind you, that’s not cheap.
Overall Shopify still stands as one of the most flexible, feature-rich, and -easy-to-use ecommerce platform that you’ll ever come across. They have one of the most intuitive dashboards that you can figure out within minutes of signing up on the platform.
Their packages range from SGD 39.39 to SGD 406.09 per month.
WooCommerce is available as a free WordPress plugin. It’s a popular ecommerce plugin that could still do without any introduction.
The platform boasts a secure payment gateway and a stunning shopping cart that’s been reported to perform really well.
The plugin comes with extensions that you may use to enhance its functionality. For instance, there’s the multi-vendor extension that you may have to install to bring other vendors on board.
The plugin has one of the simplest admin panels. It also allows you to create unlimited product categories and comes with a comprehensive range of extension and plugins. You can bet they have an extension for whatever new functionality you may want to include in your website.
Their payment gateway is also very secure and reliable to use.
On the downside, WooCommerce might be free, but don’t forget that you can’t use it without a domain name and good hosting.
Also, if you’re not well-versed with WordPress, then you may not be able to use it. But the biggest challenge is the issue of scalability. Once your business grows and you start selling more products and bringing other vendors on board, you’ll begin noticing your site slowing down.
Overall, WooCommerce is great choice of ecommerce platform if you’re still hung up on using WordPress. It’s also a great choice of ecommerce platform when you’re just starting out and not anticipating for more customers or a high volume of products. And it’s certainly not an option you’d want to consider if you have any plan to bring other vendors on board.
BigCommerce has almost all the features that you can find on Shopify, but with better theme option and payment gateways. It’s also regarded as one of the most prominent ecommerce software, used by big brands such as Toyota and Martha Stewart.
It’s a platform you’d want to consider if you’re an aspiring store owner with zero coding skills. It also comes with a slew of built-in features, including tax, newsletters, shipping, and analytics. Also, unlike Shopify and other ecommerce platforms, they have no transaction fees.
All their themes (both paid and free) are responsive. Plus, it can be integrated on Facebook, Google Shopping, and eBay.
The biggest limitation with this platform is that it lacks enough free themes (only seven available free theme options). Meaning you have to make a point of purchasing a premium theme if you’re looking for something unique.
Our review of top e-commerce websites in Singapore has covered almost all aspects of life, whether beauty, health, books, home, and lifestyle. From our review, it is clear to see that e-commerce is very profitable in Singapore.
With a stable economy, technological savvy population, high penetration of Smartphone’s, good internet connectivity and strategic positioning right in the middle of other developing economies, Singapore will surely continue to take the frontline when it comes to e-commerce.
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