COVID-19 prompts boom in Singapore’s e-commerce

Photo courtesy of Mein Deal

Singapore’s new digital economy is expected to rake in nearly US$500 million as a result of COVID-19, according to Accenture. 

Accenture Applied Intelligence analysed 20 million online transactions and 3 billion online browsing sessions from our data partners, news articles and social media data.

Over the past few months, some businesses saw up to three times their normal growth in online transaction volumes and revenues.

Data analysis from 13 industries comparing the percentage change of online transactions and browsing metrics during COVID versus pre-COVID show that consumer confidence has taken a blow as many remain concerned about the economic outlook.

These include groceries, restaurants and delivery, consumer investing, insurance, telecommunications, consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, beauty and cosmetics, jewellery and luxury products, children’s retail, games, hobbies and leisure, and travel and tourism.

The dip in consumer confidence is evident from their investment behaviour. For example, Accenture found that personal investment transactions in Singapore increased by 212%, but a 45% lower revenue per transaction indicates consumers are committing smaller amount.

Also, e-commerce demand has surged as new users trial digital options, and their frequency of purchase is expected to increase in the future. A shift from offline to online purchase in the beauty and cosmetics industry in Singapore resulted in a 44% and 13% jump in revenue and transactions respectively.

Further, online grocery transactions and revenue and demand significantly outweighed supply as consumers spent 198% more time online. Meanwhile, revenue for the fashion and apparel industry has decreased by 25%.

Online insurance transactions and revenue have spiked significantly for four weeks following DORSCON Orange, with transactions reaching a peak of 196% in the first week of March. Telecommunication transactions grew 29% – even as revenues fell – as organisations battled for wallet-share across mobile data, internet and home entertainment.

“The scale of the changes identified in our findings suggest a clear shift in Singapore’s consumer behaviour and consumption, impacted by COVID-19 measures,” said Lee Joon Seong, managing director of applied intelligence lead for growth markets at Accenture.

“There is a strong likelihood that the shift will persist into phase one of the post-Circuit Breaker period and beyond, as movement restrictions and consumers cautions remain, said Lee. “Companies that accelerate their digital capabilities to stay relevant to digital consumers will be able to seize opportunities and emerge victorious as we move into a post COVID-19 world.”