How does e-commerce in Singapore differ from the rest of SEA. Source: Shutterstock

Singapore: A distinct e-commerce market in SEA

THE e-commerce industry in Southeast Asia is at its best yet. With US$200 billion worth of market and billions more invested in the region, investors and consumers all around the world are looking forward to its emergence.

Southeast Asia is known for the differences between the countries. Each country is highly diverse in terms of payment method, logistics, internet access and more. Being the most advanced and richest country in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a distinct market compared to other countries in the region.

We compare the data between Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asian countries and discovered very interesting insights about the e-commerce market in Singapore.

Size does not lead to domination

By analyzing the most visited website based on traffic, Singapore appears to be the only country that’s not dominated by e-commerce giant Lazada.

Data shows that Qoo10 leads the traffic in Singapore by gaining 3 million more traffic than Lazada. According to the Map of E-Commerce, Qoo10 has led the traffic in Singapore for the past 3 quarters consistently.

Qoo10 has led the traffic in Singapore for the past 3 quarters consistently. Source: Pexels

Despite the popular Online Revolution sales by Lazada, 11.11 and 12.12, which helped to increase the traffic of the site dramatically during Q4 2017, Qoo10 traffic appeared to be unaffected.

On the other hand, Lazada is the most visited e-commerce site for the rest of Southeast Asian countries. The giant e-commerce player can be seen largely ahead of its closest competitors, especially in Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Lazada took over the crown for most visited e-marketplaces and beat out the early players in respective countries. However, it’s a different case in Singapore. They appear to still visit Qoo10 heavily, the e-marketplace which landed 2 years in Singapore ahead of Lazada.

A survey conducted by Poly students in Singapore has reported that women shop more than men online. Women have the tendencies to buy frequently or more than men on a daily basis. According to Cho Hyunwook, the country manager for Qoo10, they are focusing more on beauty and fashion categories where customers look for style, stories, and content. The strategy which is closely related to female shoppers might be the main contributor of their high hits in terms of traffic.

High demand for cross-border shopping

Singaporeans appear to have a higher demand for cross-border shopping. Two out of the top five most visited e-commerce sites are platforms which hugely support such services by aiming to make the cross-border shopping process easier for the consumers.

Based on the Q1 2018 Map of E-Commerce, eBay – the popular e-commerce platform from California, is the third most visited e-commerce site in Singapore. It’s followed by Ezbuy, which places fourth.

Ebay is the third most visited e-commerce site in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

During Q3 and Q4 2017, Ezbuy was the third most visited site and eBay placed fourth. However, eBay overtook Ezbuy during Q1 2018 and both platforms switched their rankings between themselves.

Ezbuy and eBay share one significant similarity in which most of the products they sell are mainly from overseas.

A spokesman for eBay Singapore has stated that cross-border trade is their main focus for the platform and it makes up the overwhelming majority of transactions in Singapore.

EZbuy, claimed as Singapore’s first and largest global shopping platform, is also a platform made to boost cross-border shopping. They focus on connecting customers to products and top brands from overseas such as Korea, Taiwan, and the USA.

The high traffic from customers clearly indicates the demand for cross-border items. According to Forrester Research, 60 percent of Singapore’s e-commerce sales come from cross-border orders, a high percentage compared to its neighboring country Malaysia at 40 percent.

Sophisticated attitudes towards apps

Mobile applications are expected to drive revenue as much as US$101.1 billion during 2020, as forecasted on the mobile app report in APAC by Google.

Comparing the ranks of the most downloaded mobile shopping applications of Q1 2018, Lazada placed number one in Singapore followed by Shopee. On the other hand, the rest of the Southeast Asian countries saw Shopee ranks number one.

Lazada placed number one in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

According to the report as well, despite having a relatively small market, Singapore continues to have high usage numbers and sophisticated attitudes towards mobile apps. Because of the country’s high smartphone penetration, the mobile usage behaviors are more mature.

Users are more open to downloading a mobile app. This helps to explain the possibility of the different result between Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asian countries.

Shopee is an m-commerce focused player where it mainly promotes users to shop via their mobile app for the best experience. Despite that, it placed second in term of download ranks in Singapore.

The other Southeast Asian countries seem to receive the idea well as it beats other e-marketplaces to top mobile shopping applications ranking. It’s safe to say Singaporeans are not solely driven by m-commerce platform as the reason for them to download a mobile app. Instead, it’s correlating with their mature behaviors in using mobile.

This is an expert article from the iPrice Group