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What Industries Are Still Growing in Singapore Despite The Coronavirus Crisis?

Nora Setiawan

July 7, 2020

Since Coronavirus hit the world and it is still ongoing until now, every country has been struggling with the outbreak. It includes Singapore, as there are 32,303 cases, and it became one of the highest rates on a per capita basis in Asia. 

The infection rate among the 323.000 migrant workers living in dormitories, who have driven the surge in coronavirus patients, has approached 10%. This might be because of the poor living conditions of Singapore’s vast migrant worker population, who reside in crowded dormitories. The largest cluster of the cases has been found at the dormitories.

Like other countries, the virus is dragging down Singapore’s economy. Singapore drastically downgraded its economic forecast for 2020 after the coronavirus hit the economy in the first quarter of the year.


The Industries Situation Due To Coronavirus

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said that it expected the gross domestic product to fall between 4% and 7% in 2020. However, according to official data, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Singapore was worth 382 billion US dollars in 2019, and the GDP value of Singapore represented 0.32% of the world economy.

With the cases and uncertainty over the length of the Covid-19 outbreak , it surely disrupts both the global and Singapore economies, and it somehow looks like taking a long time to get them recovered.

The sectors including construction, which relies heavily on migrant workers, such as transportation, wholesale, and retail trade all shrank in the first quarter of the year. Additionally, the accommodation and food services sector have their biggest fall on record for these three months.

Speaking about economy crashes, Singapore’s retail sales decreased by 40.5% in April from a year ago, and by 31.7% from the previous month. Furthermore, motor vehicle sales remained the weakest area with 68%, and the other industries, such as watches and jewelry, clothing, department stores, and recreational goods are also falling down. 

The worst situation caused by the weak consumer spending, while it is predicted it will remain for the rest of the year, even when the economy is gradually reopening.

Despite the Covid-19 impaction on these industries that mentioned above, there are some that are still growing in Singapore. What are these industries? How do they maintain to survive? What do they do? Let’s keep reading this article!


The Industries That Are Still Growing In Coronavirus Crisis

Back in 2019 before the pandemic, the Singapore e-commerce industry was set to expand by 48% by 2022. The annual sales value of Singapore’s consumer e-commerce market totals $4.11 billion with a growth rate of 35% YoY. The average annual e-commerce revenue per person is $1.037, up by 31%. However, e-wallet only accounts for 10% of total e-commerce spend in Singapore.

When the Covid-19 hits worldwide, and continues to spread, it brings the impact on Singapore’s e-commerce. The supply-side issue is the most important in this case, because it leads to increasing instances of border closures and lockdowns, severely affecting air travel.

Moreover, a sizable amount of cargo is transported via the belly hold of passenger aircraft, and the reduction of flights caused a shortage in supply, and it causes the rate to surge. It causes many e-commerce merchants to increase their prices, as they are unable to secure freight space.

Since the outbreak, consumer behaviour on the March 2020 survey found that a new digital norm has emerged. 2 in 5 consumers in Singapore (37%) have increased their online shopping activities, and 3 in 4 (76%) indicated that they will not return to the same levels of online shopping before the outbreak.

In addition, if we see the positive side, Covid-19 may quicken the growth of Singapore’s online grocery sector. When the virus outbreak, Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was raised to Orange, Singaporeans did not just go to physical supermarkets, but also loaded virtual charts with groceries from online platforms. This behaviour persists as the government allowed workers to work-from-home, and avoid non-essential trips to shopping malls.

The demand for online sales and services is expected to continue to increase as consumption patterns adapt to the Covid-19 situation. Now, more businesses are also going online to reach out to their customers, while adopting digital solutions, such as e-payment and e-invoicing.

Other than that, the property industry in Singapore got affected too. The works on site were suspended, resulting in delays in construction projects. But, they still manage to keep growing in such situations. Buying by Singaporeans led the 187% increase in the number of purchases, offsetting a steep drop of mainland Chinese buyers, the biggest foreign acquirers in the city-state’s residential market.


What Are The Next Opportunities?

Despite the Covid-19, both e-commerce and property industries have the chance to keep growing and they have the opportunities to keep shining, even in the long term. In an e-commerce industry, the digitalize consumer engagement by investing more in digital infrastructure, including social channels, online apps, and online communities.

There is also a growing trend in the e-commerce industry towards delivery channels and partners across retail to improve customers’ convenience.  As the shopper is growing more knowledgeable, demanding, and interactive, e-commerce should anticipate these changes, by fulfilling the various items, promo, and boost the delivery services.

In the property industries, some owners, managers, and brokers are using technology to enhance tenant engagement and experience. Mall owners in Asia-Pacific are using virtual reality (VR) to engage shoppers from their homes.

In the senior housing sector, landlords are providing tenants with free digital resources. Some proptechs have set up digital competitions and live meditation classes to help owners and managers engage with tenants virtually.

Using the technology can help commercial real estate organizations enhance tenant engagement and experience. The companies are likely to benefit from using apps and other tools to communicate with tenants and other stakeholders. Utilize a wider variety of traditional and alternative data, analytical tools and techniques, they all could enable companies to make more informed decisions.

With the improvement of technology, the industries can continue growing and survive the pandemic. They even have many opportunities to grow their businesses. Despite the Coronavirus, both e-commerce and property industries are flourishing until now, when Singapore enters the phase 2 of re-opening activities again. If your business need help to sustain in times of crisis, you can always talk with us to help you with our business continuity plan.

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