Is the Coronavirus Fuelling the E-commerce Surge in Singapore?

Is the Coronavirus Fuelling the E-commerce Surge in Singapore?

Looking at the first half of 2020, it seems that this could be a pivotal year for the e-commerce sector in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, possibly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While COVID-19 has caused major disruptions in Singapore, it has brought benefits to many e-commerce players in the country.

E-commerce received a surge in transactions for both essential and discretionary items in the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic forced most people to stay at home, according to a study.

Driven by high-value shoppers nationwide, iPrice recorded that Singaporeans spent an average of S$113 online during this unprecedented period from January to June 2020.

The average basket size increased by 51% when compared to the same period of 2019.

Given the current situation in Singapore, ASEAN’s most prominent e-commerce hub, iPrice Group and SimilarWeb updated the Map of E-commerce report to shed light on the biggest developments from the top e-commerce platforms in the Lion City.

Rank E-commerce Platform Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Percentage Increase (%)
1 Shopee 5,963,300 10,879,900 82%
2 Lazada 7,786,700 8,570,000 10%
3 Qoo10 6,646,700 7,447,400 12%
4 Amazon.sg 2,833,300 3,653,333 29%
5 EZBuy 1,031,900 1,681,800 63%

Who is at the king of the hill?

Data reveals that e-commerce platforms in Singapore experienced a two-digit growth (23%) in total web visits (desktop & mobile web) throughout the first half of 2020, signifying a strong consumer confidence in e-commerce retail and further growth in the digital economy.

Based on the overall e-commerce traffic in Singapore, 5 of the top e-commerce players that emerged are Shopee, Lazada, Qoo10, Amazon and EZBuy.

Singapore-based company, Shopee, took the crown as the most visited e-commerce platform in the city-state as of Q2 2020. The e-commerce company saw a tremendous increase of 82% from Q1 to Q2 2020, garnering nearly an additional 5 million in average visitors in Q2 2020 alone.

While it is no surprise that Shopee’s substantial backing from its parent company, SEA Ltd, has put the shopping site at an advantage in terms of acquiring additional visitors in H1 2020, the surge in number of visits was also potentially driven by its constant marketing initiatives to promote and help value-driven shoppers during the circuit breaker period such as shop from home, 4.4 flash sale, super mart month, 6.6 – 7.7 great Shopee Sale, and many others.

With the recent news that SEA Ltd. has become the world’s best-performing large cap-stock and the first sole applicant for digital full bank license in Singapore, the company aims to engage shoppers and merchants through digital payments/lending for millennials and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Lazada played second fiddle to its key competitor with an increase of 10% in traffic when compared to Q1 2020, recording an average of 8.5 million visitors (desktop & mobile web) as of Q2 2020.

The Alibaba Southeast Asian arm retained a strong presence in the country as the platform acquired 23% of the web market share in Singapore, indicating its healthy growth in winning both customers and merchants.

Harnessing the power of its parent company, Alibaba, Lazada also aims to stand out from its competitor through its strong brand connections in engaging livestreams. Moreover, it assisted more brick-and-mortar stores to be part of its online platform.

This was reflected on Lazada’s sales of its online supermarket delivery business, Redmart. The company reported to have 4 times jump in sales since the city-state implemented movement restrictions in early April.

Additionally, among the most important initiatives to support future business strategies was the recent appointment of Lazada’s new CEO as they aim to double down on tech investments in each market.

Given Lazada’s growth in numbers, its Group CMO, Mary Zhou, believes Lazada’s Super Brand Day (SBD) promotions are 2nd only to its 11.11 sales day, where 26 brands recorded sales of over $1 million across the region in 24 hours.

From dark horses to front-runners

Industry unicorns like Lazada and Shopee were not the only players that experienced growth during the pandemic; Qoo10, a homegrown e-commerce platform, landed strong in 3rd place.

As the top 3 e-commerce players successfully maintained their positions in the Lion City, a surprising element emerges in the form of an International e-commerce giant, Amazon.sg. With its strengthening presence in the market since Q4 2019, Amazon.sg seems to be penetrating Singapore successfully.

Amazon.sg was thriving during COVID-19 as the company was the 4th most visited e-commerce platform in the first half of 2020. The company’s traffic surged to an average of 3.6 million from 2.8 million.

Its strong performance could probably be attributed to the company’s closure of many international retail stores not available in the city-state, providing consumers with a variety of options across the globe.

Given its constant growth and maturity in the e-commerce sector, Amazon may catch up fast especially with its innovations to increase its market share in the upcoming quarters.
Securing the 5th position as the most visited e-commerce platform, EZBuy had garnered over 63% increase of monthly visits from Q1 to Q2 2020.

Specialised in bringing wide varieties of consumer products from overseas, the company recorded 1.68 million in average visitors as of Q2 2020.

The e-commerce sector in Southeast Asia

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