Charting Singapore’s mobile commerce landscape: mobile shopping apps use & top m-commerce purchases
July 11th, 2023, Samuel Tan

Charting Singapore’s mobile commerce landscape: mobile shopping apps use & top m-commerce purchases

In mid-June, video sharing platform TikTok announced plans to scale up its e-commerce business – TikTok Shop – as it looks to invest billions of dollars into markets across Southeast Asia over the next few years.

The growth of TikTok Shop is likely to be closely watched by established e-commerce players, such as Shopee, Lazada and Amazon, as a potential challenger in the mobile commerce / m-commerce space.

But how popular is online shopping via mobile in Singapore currently? How does usage of different mobile shopping channels (e-commerce platform apps, retail brands own mobile apps, social media e-shops and mobile web browsers) vary? And what products are Singapore’s mobile shoppers most likely to purchase across different age groups?

How popular is mobile commerce in Singapore?

Latest research from YouGov Surveys – using a nationally representative sample of ~1100 Singapore residents – show that more than five in six (85%) consumers say they use their smartphone to shop online.

Significantly, over two-thirds (67%) of consumers use e-commerce platform apps for online shopping – making this the most popular mobile commerce channel, similar to the situation in Indonesia.

Other methods are significantly less popular. Just over a third (35%) of consumers use a mobile browser, ahead of mobile apps from specific retail brands (29%).

Finally, less than a quarter (23%) of consumers use social media e-shops, a proportion similar to Hong Kong and Australia.

How popular are mobile shopping apps in Singapore?

E-commerce platform apps are used by the majority of consumers across all major age groups. But usage is presently highest among consumers aged 34 and below – at over three-quarters – and lowest among older consumers aged 55 and above – at just over half.

Retail brand shopping apps are used by at least a third of consumers aged 44 years and below. But among older consumers, only 29% aged 45-54 and 20% (one-fifth) aged 55 or older currently use them.

Among consumers who use dedicated mobile shopping apps, about half have between one to three of such apps installed on their phone, while a quarter have more than five such apps.

How often do consumers in Singapore shop online via their smartphone?

Latest data from YouGov Surveys also shows that, among consumers who shop online using their smartphone, most do so at least once a month.

Close to two in five (37%) say they don’t shop online via their mobile every week, but do so at least once a month, while a quarter (24%) go mobile shopping on a weekly basis

Additionally, another quarter (23%) do so at least a couple of times a year.

What products do consumers in Singapore buy using their smartphone?

Clothes, shoes and fashion apparel are the most common mobile shopping purchase – more than half of Singapore’s mobile shoppers, across different ages, say they buy such products online via their smartphone.

Travel bookings for hotels and flights are #2 among mobile shoppers aged 35 years and up, but rank #6 among those aged 18-34.

Personal electronics are #2 among mobile shoppers aged 18-34 (where over half indicate buying such products), and rank #3 among those aged 35 years or older.


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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 510 and 2,044 for each market. All surveys were conducted online during April 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Singapore is nationally representative of all adults (18 years or older), weighted by age, gender, and ethnicity, and reflect the latest Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) estimates. Learn more about Profiles.

Photo by d3sign on Getty Images