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Singapore lags Japan and China with e-commerce use


In contrast with data about digital transformation and government’s engagement in promoting digital solutions for retail, Singaporeans have not fully embraced e-commerce.

Credit Suisse data show that Singapore falls behind China, US, and Japan in terms of e-commerce usage.

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In 2017, Singapore e-commerce comprised 5% of the country’s total retail.

Meanwhile, e-commerce comprised 23% of total retail in China and 8% of retail in the US.

Singapore still beat other ASEAN countries, however. The proportion of e-commerce in total retail in Indonesia is at 3%, nearly 2% in Malaysia and Thailand, and 1% in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Those data also do not match with marketers’ opinions that frame those markets as a huge opportunity given the slow development of retail physical infrastructure. The fact that most brands are present in the main cities only, and cannot reach the remote areas yet, places e-commerce  as a complementary service to compensate the offline retail.

However, those data show that there is still a long way to go. Definitely, millennials in those areas are tech-savvy, but the lack of sophisticated infrastructure slow down the process.

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Credit Suisse said with 158 million middle class consumers, ASEAN is often seen as the next frontier for the e-commerce market, but e-tailing — online retailing — is still at China’s levels in 2010.

The firm said the entry of Chinese tech giants could change the ASEAN e-commerce scene significantly.

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