23 dec bt(online) us sale events spur e-commerce in s'pore


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23 dec bt(online) us sale events spur e-commerce in s'pore

  1. 1. Client : PayPal Country : Singapore Publication : The Business Times Section : BizIT Date : 23 December 2013 Type : Online Topic Circulation : : US Sales Spur E-Commerce in S’pore 37,500 URL : http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/specials/bizit/others/us-sale-events-spur-ecommerce-spore-20131223 23 December 2013 US sale events spur e-commerce in S'pore Discounts given by online merchants are the main draw [SINGAPORE] Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be US sales events, but that has not stopped them from creating waves in Singapore's shopping scene. In fact, these are the busiest days of the year for local online shopping and shipping service provider vPost, said its senior vice-president for eCommerce, Marcelo Wesseler. The company does not provide details on sales volumes; however, it saw an increase in unique visitors by more than 140 per cent on those two days. Its recently established Omigo.com shopping site, which currently stocks about 7,000 consumer electronics, toys and baby products from the US and Singapore merchants, recorded a 127 per cent jump in transactions in the week leading to Black Friday compared to the week before. The key attraction for local shoppers is the discounts given by online merchants, which range from 10 to 30 per cent, said Mr Wesseler. While the sale events are well-known to Singaporean shoppers, he said that a number of e-commerce firms here are still not aware of them or their effect. One local merchant that has been surprised by the influence of Black Friday is LaPrendo.com, which sells luxury goods to a largely local clientele. The start of its end-of-season sale, which coincided with Black Friday, saw a four-fold jump in revenue compared to the company's normal daily revenue. Its director Shu-Yi Yeo said that the company is considering tapping the sales event in the future not just for its business in Singapore, but also in the Middle East.
  2. 2. As for Cyber Monday, local shoppers making online purchases with PayPal were whipping up a rate of 10 transactions per minute last year. (The company was not able to provide local 2013 numbers at the time of writing.) In fact, this was the busiest day for Singapore shoppers who bought from overseas websites using PayPal during the October-December period in 2012, said Lawrence Chan, the company's vice-president for Asia Pacific Merchant Services and general manager for South-east Asia and India. He added that PayPal saw a 21 per cent increase in Black Friday sales from US merchants to Singapore shoppers last year, compared to the year before. For businesses that missed out on e-commerce opportunities during these two events, there is still the rest of December to look forward to. Last year, local PayPal merchants fulfilled orders from an international audience at a rate of 11 transactions per minute on Dec 27. Between October and December last year, they reaped a 32 per cent year-on-year increase in sales volumes, recording growth particularly from buyers in China, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia and Great Britain. The top categories for Singapore merchants experiencing high year-on-year growth were travel, fashion and software. Singaporeans are also increasingly buying toys, baby products, supplements and beauty products from both local and overseas sites throughout the year, observed Mr Wesseler. Also on the rise is the use of mobile phones to do online shopping. According to PayPal, the volume of mobile payments it processed globally last year grew more than three times to US$14 billion. It expects this to further increase to US$20 billion this year. In Singapore, a study carried out by research firm Nielsen from March to May 2013 found that 31 per cent of local consumers used their mobile devices to shop online, compared to 24 per cent in 2012. For e-commerce sites such as vPost, Omigo.com and LaPrendo.com, mobile phone shoppers account for 40 per cent of their online traffic. "In the mornings and evenings, we see very high mobile traffic as consumers surf while waiting for their transportation or on their journey to or from the office. However, purchases are made largely using the desktop or tablet during lunch breaks or late in the evening. Although we see an increase in mobile phone payments, they make up under 10 per cent of our total payment volume," said Mr Wesseler. Mobile payment also allows for self-service especially during a sale or in a crowded store, added Ms Yeo. Some of her customers go into her retail stores to check out the products, and then purchase them with their mobile phones to skip the queue at the cashier. At times, they use the phones to enjoy an online promotion code. She noted that shoppers typically use the mobile phone for single-item purchases. For multiple items, they prefer the desktop as the larger screen offers them the ease of making comparisons between products. "Adopting a mobile mindset is now a critical component for stores to capture customers who focus on price and simplicity. For example, no-line payment options and tablet point-of-sale check-out will
  3. 3. become more important than ever to draw customers," said Mr Chan. PayPal expects Singapore's online commerce market to reach S$4.4billion by 2015.