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Home / Singapore / Industries
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Singapore's retail industry generated over 25% of the national GDP in 2007 measured in retail sales revenues alone: S$39.6 billion (€19.8 billion) on a GDP of S$152 billion. Retail incudes car sales and petrochemical products e.g. petrol for cars. The retail sector also has a major effect on the performance of other sectors such as tourism.

Retail and shopping have always been one of the main USP's of Singapore. The country offers an excellent mix of shopping opportunities. One can stroll through wet-markets, shop for cheap textile products and clothes at street-stalls or visit the upmarket shopping malls of Orchard Road and Sun Tec. Cheap t-shirts, sarongs, the latest models mobile phones and digital cameras, jewellery and designer watches : Singapore has it all on offer.

Although the traditional mix of consumer electronics no longer offers European and American or Australian consumers significant savings Singapore still offers a host of authentic (Asian/Singaporean) shopping experiences. Many traditional neighbourhoods abound, especially near the city centre, each with its own unique character and shopping opportunities. E.g. the old Arab quarter near Beach Road offers little art shops but also traditional Malay and Indian clothing shops.

Their polite and friendly nature as well as natural interest in the outside world makes Singaporeans ideal employees for the retail industry. Whether buying or just browsing Singaporean retail sales-staff will treat every visitor with politeness.

Between 2001 and 2003 retail sales developments were in line with Singapore's weak economic performance. However since 2004 healthy growth figures are the norm again.

From 2004 onwards until the end of 2008 Singapore's retail industry expanded over 33% in turn over. Although by the end of 2007 the number of establishments had declined to below 19,500, employment had actually increased to over 108,000 employees.

Outlet segment breakdown (2007):

Segment

No. of outlets

Employment

Turnover (million S$)

Value added (million S$)

General merchandise

2,927

29,108

8,812

1,039

Automotive

1,451

12,492

15,203

1,263

Personal goods

8,310

39,756

8,840

1,597

Household equipment

2,815

13,471

4,907

624

Others

3,990

13,532

1,788

341


Breakdown Personal Goods segment (2007):

Segment

No. of establishments

Apparel & footwear

3,400

Recreational goods

2,200

Department stores & supermarkets

2,900

Household equipment

2,800


The Personal Goods segment employed closed to 40,000 people in over 11,000 establishments. Personal Goods retailers also achieved the highest profitability level of 7.6% vs. a total industrial average of 5.7%.

Key Retail Indicators 2005 - 2007

No. Establishments:

Retail Segment

2005

2006

2007

Total Retail Trade

19,758

19,895

19,493

General merchandise

3,153

3,074

2,927

Automotive

1,443

1,458

1,451

Personal goods

8,007

8,277

8,310

Household equipment

2,930

2,928

2,815

Others

4,224

4,157

3,990


Employment:

Retail Segment

2005

2006

2007

Total Retail Trade

104,274

106,995

108,359

General merchandise

27,982

29,408

29,108

Automotive

12,557

12,914

12,492

Personal goods

36,612

38,280

39,756

Household equipment

13,557

13,709

13,471

Others

13,564

12,684

13,532


Turn over in million S$ (2007):

Retail Segment

2005

2006

2007

Total Retail Trade

35,990

37,337

39,550

General merchandise

7,628

8,192

8,812

Automotive

15,068

15,211

15,203

Personal goods

7,400

7,888

8,840

Household equipment

4,381

4,446

4,907

Others

1,513

1,599

1,788



Retail sales of automotive products in 2007 amounted to S$15.2 billion (€7.6 billion) or 38.4% of the total retail revenue.

The large share of automotive sales in the weighted average of retail sales turnover is one explanation why retail sales overall declined so sharply in the 1st quarter of 2009. The drop in new car sales dragged the results of the entire industry down.

However sales turnover of the automotive retail segment has remaind fairly stable since 2005 at around S$15.2 billion. Of the S$3.65 billion (€1.78 billion) growth from 2005 until the end of 2007 General Merchandise took almost S$1.2 billion (€600 million) and Personal Goods over S$1.4 billion (€700 million). So together these 2 segments took a 71% share of the total retail growth.

Source statistics: Singapore Department of Statistics
http://www.singstat.gov.sg