Singaporean shoppers gravitate towards physical retail and house brands says Nielsen

Nielsen’s Shopper Trends Report for 2019 proves that physical retail is alive and well in Singapore even at a time when e-commerce is booming.

86% of those surveyed claimed to have visited a supermarket or hypermarket in the past seven days, up from 79% in 2017.

Supermarkets and hypermarkets contributed 68.4% to retail sales in 2018. Weekly shopping at supermarkets is up to 42% from 36% in 2017. The average monthly spend on grocery too is on an upwards trajectory accounting for S$663 as compared to S$623 for 2017.

However this does not mean e-commerce is lagging; it registered a 52.4% growth in sales through 2018.

The category purchases though are more different than similar, depending on whether they are being made online or offline.

The top three categories in physical retail are fresh fruit and vegetables (bought by 87% of respondents), paper products (84%) and dairy products (81%). In 2017, the top three categories were dairy products (85%), fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as chocolate and biscuit (both 79%).

In e-commerce, the top categories are household cleaners (51%), personal care items (48% facial care, 47% hair care, 45% body care) and paper products (44%).

Also significant was the rise of in-store brands, with price being the largest deciding factor. 

Speaking about the report, Nielsen Singapore’s head of retail measurement Heike Friedrich said: “Singaporeans are making more frequent trips to supermarkets with smaller baskets on each trip, where increased touch points create more opportunities for brands to engage and offer personalised services to their consumers.

“With consumers displaying increased spending propensity, locals are looking for products and services that will cater to their evolving lifestyle needs.”

The shopper trend survey involved face-to-face interviews with a random sample of 1,005 Singapore-residents between 15 to 69 and was conducted from November 29 last year to January 16.


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