Singapore's Tech Scene: Ecommerce and Logistics
By Kylee McIntyre11-Feb-2019Views 3450

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This is part four of a series summarizing top stories and key events in Singapore's tech industries in the past year.

Singapore's ecommerce market is expected to hit S$7.5 billion by 2026.

According to a 2017 report on ecommerce by iPrice, Singaporean online shoppers share five characteristics. They shop more after working hours and pay mostly by credit card. They are three times more likely to complete purchases on desktop than mobile device, and they have an average basket size of S$91. Finally, there is a continuous increase of mobile traffic in the country.

Singapore's ecommerce users make up the only Southeast Asian market that shops more on their desktops than their phones.

Singapore's ecommerce users make up the only Southeast Asian market that shops more on their desktops than their phones.

The merchants with the most visits were Qoo10 with over 10 million visitors per month, followed by Lazada (over 6 million), Shopee (over 2 million), EZBuy (over 1.7 million), and eBay (over 1.6 million). In 2018, Qoo10 beat Lazada and Redmart. Qoo10's largest market is Japan, followed by Singapore.

EZBuy raised US$17.6 million in May 2018, but that did not help in its competition with Shopee or Lazada. It was acquired late in the year.

EZBuy gained a following because it would buy products from Taobao and ship them to customers. It had an English interface, which helped with customers who couldn't read Taobao's website. Taobao began to actively shut down accounts through which EZBuy personnel would buy merchandise from Taobao. Combined with Alibaba's acquisition of Lazada, through which customers could also buy Taobao products, EZBuy ended up being acquired by LightInTheBox.

On Facebook, Lazada beats Qoo10 in traffic, while homegrown brand Love, Bonito leads on Instagram.

Ecommerce Events

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Singles Day sales racked up US$33 billion in sales in 16 hours worldwide. Still, that failed to turn retail growth positive in Singapore. Overall sales fell by 3 percent.

In line with Singles Day, Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), and Lazada's 12/12 - all shopping festivals celebrated in Singapore, Amazon attempted to join the fray with Prime Day.

Lazada acquired online grocery delivery platform Redmart in 2016. That relationship grow in 2019, as Redmart's platform will migrate to Lazada's in March 2019.

Overall sales in Singapore fell by 3 percent.

Lazada's international competitor Amazon launched in Singapore in 2017.

Meanwhile Lazada got another leg up. Alibaba put another US$2 million toward the site, which it gained control of in 2016.

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While ecommerce is on the rise in Singapore, leaving brick-and-mortar stores to restrategize. Still, Taobao built a physical store in Singapore in November, indicating that there may still be some room for physical stores to at least play a part in ecommerce - namely in directing Singapore customers toward websites, while still giving them some reassurance in touching the items they want to buy.

Honestbee's habitat - a concept store that combines a restaurant, a grocery store, and a retail research lab - opened in October 2018, three years after online food and grocery delivery service Honestbee's founding in 2015. Customers with 10 items or less can check out automatically, and robots will package people's purchases for them.

Honestbee raised US$31 million series A in 2018, for a total fundraise of US$46 million.

According to Crunchbase, the top ecommerce companies with roots in Singapore are Lazada, Singapore Post, food and services company Honestbee, Garena, and property buying and rental site PropertyGuru.


Last year, Singapore's logistics sector launched a three-year plan to quicken digitalization in the sector.

Top logistics companies headquartered in Singapore, according to Crunchbase, include warehouse and retail robotics company GreyOrange, Singapore Post, delivery and logistics company Ninja Van, ecommerce selling and logistics platform Anchanto, and logistics startup YoJee.

Singapore's logistics sector launched a three-year plan to quicken digitalization in the sector.

Ninja Van's series C round in January amounted to US$85 million, for a total fundraise of US$117.5 million. Ninja Van attempts to solve and streamline the problem of last-mile delivery in the city-state.

Anchanto raised US$4 million in 2018, for a total disclosed fundraise of US$11.1 million.

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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
Category: Company Stories
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