Trusting Singapore consumers spent $846M on cross-border purchases

Some 500,000 online shoppers in the country shelled out S$1.2 billion last year--with the US, China, and Japan as the top shopping destinations--and most confident among others in the region buying online.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Some 38 percent of consumers in Singapore say they will spend more online this year, further fuelling a cross-border industry that is estimated to have churned S$1.2 billion (US$846.43 million) in 2016.

Mobile purchases also were expected to climb 42 percent this year to generate more than S$1.2 billion, accounting for almost a third of the overall online spend of S$3.5 billion (US$2.47 billion).

In fact, total cross-border spending in Singapore was projected to climb 23 percent year-on-year, according to forecasts released Monday by PayPal's latest survey. The study polled 800 respondents in Singapore as part of a global study that covered 32 countries, including the UK, Germany, Canada, India, and China.

Across the five Asia-Pacific markets, which also included Thailand and Japan, 68 percent said they made a cross-border purchase on their smartphone in the past year. This was the highest among all regions in the survey.

Among Singapore shoppers who expected to spend more online this year, 78 percent cited convenience as the main reason for doing so. Some 500,000 in the country were estimated to have spent S$1.2 billion in cross-border transactions last year, acquiring purchases worth S$361 million (US$254.63 million) from the US, S$267 million (US$188.33 million) from China, and S$138 million (US$97.34 million) from Japan.

Half of respondents in the city-state said they trusted online stores from other countries equally to local ones, making them the most confident shoppers among their peers in the region.

Some 76 percent of Singapore shoppers' search moved overseas for better prices, while 61 percent said they did so to acquire "hard-to-find" items. The top product categories this year were expected to be household goods, which would see a 21 percent growth, as well as groceries, food and beverage, and alcohol, which would see a 15 percent increase.

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