Little Lion, Big Appetite

Affectionately known as the ‘little lion city’ after its name in Sanskrit, Singapore is rapidly increasing its demands for imports. Food and beverage buyers from Singapore, in particular, are keenly seeking Australian products. Experienced exporters have targeted the Singapore market for some time – here are some of the reasons why:

  • Singapore’s mass grocery retail sector has matured into a state of intense competition;
  • This ensures that retailers must have highly differentiated offerings just to compete;
  • Singapore is a regional hub and a permanent ‘showcase’ market for products that are listed in major supermarket chains;
  • Modern grocery retail is led by supermarkets, which have a 54 per cent share of all grocery retail in Singapore. This retail landscape in Singapore is well penetrated with modern channels, which, in this highly urbanised context account for 70 per cent of all retail value;
  • Singapore also has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and more than 72 per cent of the population earns over $50,000 annually, generating increased consumer purchasing power;
  • Australian expats form a large consumer base in Singapore, with a population of approx. 20,000 people;
  • Singaporean customers often value the ease of shopping in convenience stores or shopping online. Packaged foods are highly appealing to this consumer segment, as they are easier and less time-consuming to cook;
  • In the face of rising obesity rates, government initiatives and consumer choices to eat more healthily, a high demand for nutritious processed foods has emerged;
  • Due to land constraints, as much as 90 per cent of food consumed must be imported;
  • Recent trends have shown Singaporean retailers source increasingly more agricultural products from beyond their region to meet the 5.5 per cent annual increase in demand of their local markets; and
  • Nationally, Singapore’s import rules and regulations are simple and easy to access, making this one of the most favourable countries to export to for Australian food and beverage businesses.

With this in mind, it’s a great opportunity for Australian exporters. The first step, of course, is to get to know the market in more depth. How well do you know this market?

In terms of retail, Singapore’s leading high-end supermarket chains include NTUC Fair price, Cold Storage, Jasons and Market Place.

E-commerce in Singapore was estimated at $3.3 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach as high as $33 billion by 2020, with Red Mart named a leading food and beverage portal.

Culturally, Singaporeans pride themselves on being a ‘foodie’ country and 60 per cent of Singaporeans eat out at least four times a week, according to the 2010 National Nutrition Survey. A recent MasterCard survey on consumer dining habits showed Singaporeans to be one of the top spenders for dining out across the wider Asia Pacific. Within this trend, there is also a recognizable shift toward fine dining, new cuisines and differentiated dining experiences among Singaporeans, creating increasing demands for new perishable food items.

What will you do with these insights?