Buyers have found a better and more convenient way to shop, free from the hassles of a long commute or lines at the counter. The advent of online shopping has changed the way consumers buy their goods, and retail stores are bearing the brunt.
Surpassing Store Sales
By mid-2019, online retail sales have surpassed general merchandise sales in total market shares and revenue in the US. Online shopping has been growing in popularity for the last decade, but now it is dominating the markets. The trend is reflected in most western countries as the internet and smartphones have given consumers an alternative avenue to buy their goods. In 2019, global online shopping sales amounted to more than US$ 3.5 trillion, and that number is expected to double in 2023. Many consumers prefer the convenience of online shopping — no need to go through several shops in search of an item when you can quickly see if it’s available online. Faster delivery services have also contributed to the acceptance and popularity of online shopping. With delivery times shortened to 1-2 weeks, buyers get their items quickly without needing to leave the comfort of their own home.
Singapore Leading the Asian Wave
From clothes to sofas, Singapore’s online buyers are leading the Asian charge that is driving online sales forward. While online shopping has consistently been growing in other parts of Asia, Singapore elevates itself from the pack by being the only Asian country that ranked in the Top 10 of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce index. Singapore ranked 3rd, with Switzerland and the Netherlands taking the top 2 spots. The B2C index took account of internet server access, postal reliability, percentage of the population that use the internet, and rate of the population (aged 15 and above) who have bank accounts or mobile money service providers. While only 88 percent of Singaporeans use the internet, the country scored high in secure internet servers (97), postal reliability (97), and percentage of the population with access to banking or online alternatives (98).
Rise of the New Giants
Online retailers are taking big chunks of the market, and the majority of transactions revolve around a certain few. Amazon leads in the US, with sales totaling over $240 billion. Thanksgiving sales made it clear that Americans would rather shop at home than brave the massive crowds at a physical shop. China’s Alibaba reigns in Asia (> $770 billion), due to the vast Chinese market. Singapore’s Lazada and Japan’s Rakuten also perform well in their respective regions. All of the larger sites provide business-to-consumer (direct) purchases, but some also offer consumer-to-consumer (indirect or 2nd-hand) bargains. The rise of online stores has significantly imparted merchandise retail stores and shopping malls.
The world of retail is evolving before your very eyes. Online transactions are becoming the first option among buyers, bringing about the decline of the traditional retail model. With online and mobile banking growing in popularity, shopping has never been easier.