Mobile shopping in Singapore to grow by 42 percent this year: PayPal

Adrian M. Reodique

According to PayPal's Ipsos Cross-Border research report in 2016, more than a third of Singaporeans (38 percent) think they will be spending more online this year.

Seventy-eight percent of them are turning to e-commerce because it is more convenient (78 percent) than shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, while 36 percent are attracted by discounts offered through online channels.

PayPal surveyed more than 28,000 consumers in 32 countries, including Singapore, China, India, Japan, and Thailand.

Mobile commerce will be the largest contributor to e-commerce's growth in Singapore. Mobile shopping spend in the republic is expected to increase by 42 percent in 2017, amounting to more than S$1.2 billion.

Besides mobile shopping, cross-border online shopping in Singapore is also forecasted to grow by 23 percent this year. Singaporeans were found to be the most confident cross-border shoppers in APAC in 2016. In fact, more than half of them (52 percent) said they trust foreign online stores as much as the local stores.

Last year, about half a million Singaporeans spent approximately S$1.2 billion on cross-border online commerce. The top online shopping destinations were United States (S$361 million), China (S$267 million), and Japan (S$138 million). Online shoppers spent mostly on clothing/apparel and accessories (53 percent), travel and transportation (37 percent), and cosmetics/beauty products (26 percent).

Singaporeans are also looking to purchase more of their daily necessities online. Online spending on household goods is predicted to grow by 21 percent, while online spending on groceries, food and beverage, and alcohol will see an estimated increase of 15 percent.

The forecasted growth signals an opportunity for online merchants - such as online supermarket RedMart and Asian e-trailer Zalora - to roll out the appropriate initiatives to reach out to a larger customer base. For instance, Zalora regularly rolls out app-only promotions for consumers who prefer to shop via their mobile devices.

"2017 looks to be a year of growth and opportunities for savvy businesses that are equipped to take their sales online, on mobile and in-app. This in turn provides endless choices and possibilities for the mobile-savvy generation as they live their lives on the go," said Rahul Shinghal, General Manager for PayPal Southeast Asia, in a press release.