Singapore flag Singapore: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Singapore

Evolution of the Sector
According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the country’s food retail sales surpassed USD 6 billion USD in 2018 (latest data available), with retail sales per square metre estimated at SGD 11,986. Most of the food retail sales in Singapore take place in hypermarkets, supermarkets and modern mini-marts. The Singapore food retail sector is highly developed and competitive. The industry is comprised of a range of large supermarkets/hypermarkets, convenience stores, “mom and pop” traditional stores and specialty retailers.
According to Euromonitor, supermarkets remains the leading channel in grocery retailing despite experiencing tepid growth in Singapore in 2019, whereas traditional grocery retailing witnessed a slight decline, as some segments of traditional retailing, such as wet markets, continued to struggle amidst the changing landscape of grocery retailing in Singapore, with supermarkets offering products at lower prices as well as providing a wider variety. Furthermore, an increasing number of supermarkets are extending their operating hours to cater to consumers, thus increasing competition.

Generally, the large supermarket chains and several up-market retailers import western-type products directly from source countries, consolidators and distributors for their own outlets, while smaller retailers buy from local distributors. Products procured from local importers would include products from the Asian region, dry groceries, tropical fruit, frozen chicken and chicken parts, frozen beef, local sauces and ethnic foods.

Online grocery shopping is only popular among busy working adults who do not have to do physical grocery shopping, as consumers generally prefer to shop physically at supermarkets and convenience stores as they are highly accessible and conveniently located. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 outbreak and the following restrictions propelled online sales in 2020.
Convenience is the key purchasing factor in Singapore, especially for time-strapped working consumers. Nevertheless, health and wellness trends continue to be highly prevalent in 2019, so that consumers are more willing to spend on fresh and healthy produce. Some brands like as Little Farms and Ryan’s Grocery expanded their offer to organic and artisanal products.

Market share
According to the latest report from the US Department of Agriculture, the retail sector in Singapore is dominated by three key players:

  • NTUC Fair Price Cooperative: Singapore's largest retailer (supermarkets, hypermarkets, gas marts and convenience stores, with the brands FairPrice, FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, and FairPrice Xpress supermarkets/hypermarkets), it has a market share of 34%
  • Dairy Farm Group: supermarkets, hypermarkets, gourmet stores and convenience stores with brands such as Cold Storage, Market Place, Giant supermarkets, 7/11 convenience stores. It retains a market share of 16%
  • Sheng Siong Supermarket Chain: it offers supermarkets with "wet & dry" market experience, located across the island, mostly in suburban neighbourhood areas.

Other players include:

  • Prime Supermarkets: with 20 stores, mainly located in suburban neighborhood areas, targeting budget-conscious consumers
  • the Japanese retail stores Meidi-Ya Singapore and Isetan Supermarket
  • Mustafa Supermarket in “Little India”, importing from multiple countries.

Concerning traditional grocery retailers, BreadTalk Pte Ltd continues to lead the market in terms of sales in 2019.

Retail Sector Organisations
Singapore Retailers Association
Federation of Merchants' Associations

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Latest Update: June 2022

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