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Singapore rides omnichannel wave

News, 02 June 2015

SINGAPORE: Online and offline sales in Singapore are growing in tandem as omnichannel is becoming an integral part of shopping culture in Asia.

Data compiled by online couponing website Flipit.com show that 85% of Singaporeans shop in-store at least once a month while 49% shop online with a similar frequency.

But the preference is for bricks and mortar, Digital Market Asia reported, as more than half of Singaporeans (56%) like to shop in-store in one of the city state's 105 malls, where they appreciate being able to touch and feel products as well as eat and drink and socialise.

The fact that malls are increasingly integrating channels also helps, with click-and-collect facilities, for example, being supplemented with "click-and-mortar" stores where shoppers can use barcodes to save items to an online shopping cart.

"Shopping trends are constantly evolving, but you can always guarantee that Singapore will be one step ahead," said Willem Nout, Project Manager at Flipit.com.

"Singaporeans just love to shop – plain and simple!" he said, adding that seeing shopping as a pastime rather than a necessity was "exactly the kind of attitude that guarantees to keep physical stores out of the red zone".

Amazingly, Singapore has double the retail space per person of Australia, despite being 10,000 times smaller.

It is also among the world's leading markets for retail expansion, according to a report by real estate services firm CBRE, attracting 58 new global brands last year – double the number of 2013 and second only to Tokyo.

These entrants were mostly in the food and beverage sector, reported Inside Retail Asia, followed by apparel and accessories chains. And the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands was a favoured location thanks to the high numbers of affluent customers visiting the connected casino facilities.

Brandon Famous, senior managing director for retail occupier advisory & transaction services at CBRE, echoed Nout when he said that consumers continued to "view the physical store as their preferred mode of purchase and perhaps more importantly, as a point of social interaction".

"Consumers view shopping as a leisure activity and the continued expansion of brands and the development/improvement of shopping locations gives them the opportunity to embrace this," he added.

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia, Inside Retail Asia, CBRE; additional content by Warc staff