Southeast Asia

E-commerce sales in Singapore forecast to hit $13.4 billion by 2026: Report (The Straits Times)

E-commerce sales in Singapore are expected to grow to US$10 billion (S$13.4 billion) by the end of 2026, said a report by Facebook and management consultancy Bain & Company released on Tuesday (Aug 31).

The country joins the rest of the region in the online economy boom fuelled by the pandemic-induced digital shift and as hybrid work arrangements look set to become the norm.

South-east Asia's e-commerce gross merchandise value is expected to nearly double to US$254 billion in five years, up from the US$132 billion forecast in 2021, said the latest Sync South-east Asia Report.

Online sales in Singapore will hit an estimated US$8 billion this year.

The region has seen 70 million new digital consumers - or those who have purchased a product online in the past 12 months - since the start of the pandemic.

Mr Benjamin Joe, vice-president of South-east Asia and emerging markets at Facebook, said staying at home has changed consumer behaviour online.

"E-commerce now outranks gaming as one of the top activities consumers do online, possibly because it is evolving to blend entertainment with shopping... Online channels have become more prevalent, from discovery to purchase," he said in a virtual briefing.

South-east Asian consumers are also getting more comfortable with buying a wider range of items, said the report, which involved a survey of more than 16,700 consumers across six markets in May this year.

Notably, fresh groceries were purchased online by 59 per cent of respondents for the first time in the past three months, while food deliveries stood at 56 per cent and healthcare products 52 per cent.

The number of respondents who said they shop mostly online went up from 33 per cent last year to 45 per cent this year, with the largest increase coming from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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