"While it does not come as a surprise that Singaporeans are Southeast Asia's top online shoppers, it is equally important to note that there is still huge potential for growth of e-commerce in Singapore," said Martell Hardenberg, CEO of Lazada Singapore.
Lazada, also known as "Asia's Amazon" for its online offerings of electronics, toys and other general items was founded almost three years ago and is one online retailer that has made headway in Singapore in recent years. Others include fashion website Zalora and online grocerRedMart.
There is 19 percent year-on-year growth in e-commerce transactions performed by Visa cardholders in the city, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei Ooi Huey Tyng was quoted in the local media last month as saying.
Latest data for overall retails sales in Singapore shows growth of 5.5 percent on-year in September. That number falls to 0.6 percent growth when motor vehicle sales are stripped out.
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"Consumer spending has generally been subdued for bricks and mortar stores and the overall numbers don't really capture the trend of online shopping," said Hak Bin Chua, Asean economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Economists say that relatively high costs in Singapore help explain the popularity of online shopping in the city. These include high labor and rent for bricks and mortar retailers that then pass on those costs to consumers.
"The cost of living is rising; consumers are just trying to get a better bang for their buck and online shopping allows that," Chua said.
A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit earlier this year ranked Singapore the most expensive city in the world to live in.
"I buy online, using U.K. sites because primarily the price is cheaper and it is easier to get everything in one place," said Faith, a British national who lives in Singapore, preferring to give just her first name.
"Going to the different malls in Singapore does cost a lot if you are parking a car or using a taxi. With the likes of [British department store] John Lewis offering free shipping, with the goods arriving in four days, these are a real bonus. Also if you don't order too much, you don't need to pay the GST (general sales tax)," she added, referring to Singapore's 7 percent general sales tax.
Other major retailers also offer incentives to Asian shoppers. Online shopping giant Amazon for instance delivers free to Singapore on purchases above $125 (S$165).
Even with the rapid take-off online shopping in the Southeast Asian financial hub, economists say they see sufficient consumer spending to bolster both the online and physical retail sectors.