From 2013 to 2018, household expenditure in Singapore rose by only 3.8%, a much lower rate of increase than both GDP and household income. While expenditure declined in the Food/Non-Alcoholic Beverage, Clothing/Footwear, Transport and Recreation/Culture categories, spending on Accommodation Services and Health increased at higher rates. Spending on Food Services also increased and accounted for a high ratio of 17% of total household expenditure.

GDP growth in 2019 fell 0.8% year-on-year, a sharp drop from 6.6% GDP growth the previous year. This represented the lowest figure since the global financial crisis in 2009. Singapore’s retail market has largely underperformed when it comes to GDP growth in recent years, with a growth of 1.7% in 2018.

The Supermarket channel was the only mixed merchandise channel that expanded its revenue between 2014 and 2018. It grew with a CAGR of 4.0%, while the other 2 mixed merchandise channels — Mini-Mart/Convenience Store/Provision Shop and Department Store/ Hypermarket —shrank with both recording a CAGR of minus 1.5%. Among the category specialist channels, Medical Goods/Toiletries showed the highest growth rate with a CAGR of 5.3%.

Retail sales contracted by 44.7% year-on-year in May 2020 after circuit breaker measures were issued on April 7 to combat the spread of COVID-19. A recovery trend was seen in the following month of June when reopening measures were implemented. The decline in sales was largely in category specialist channels and department stores, but sales in the Supermarket/Hypermarket channel increased significantly. The large decline in Food Services led to a prominent increase in sales at medium-sized supermarkets.

Singapore started the year with an e-commerce ratio of 6.5% in January 2020. It grew significantly to 20.1% in April and 26.3% in May. In May, the e-commerce ratio for the Computer/ Telecommunications Equipment channel reached 94.3%, and Furniture/Household Equipment reached 93.6%. On the other hand, the e- commerce ratio for the Supermarket/Hypermarket channel went up to only 9.6% in May and hovered between 10% and 12% from June until the end of 2020.