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Amazon's Launch in Singapore: Where Should You Shop Online Now?

With Amazon officially launching its website in Singapore, its first in SouthEast Asia, competition among e-commerce platforms in the region is about to get heated up. Will Amazon live up to people's expectations, offering unbeatable prices, selection and service to win over the hearts of its customers?

Amazon's new launch of its first Singapore website is making headlines, stirring a new sense of excitement among consumers and perhaps concern among local e-commerce companies. Amazon has been expanding its dominating presence around the world by leveraging dirt cheap prices, wide selections and excellent customer service. But with so many local competitors that have been operating in the region for so long, will it live up to this expectation in Singapore? We've crunched the numbers to find out.

Amazon Is Indeed Cheaper Than Other E-commerce Platforms

After scraping prices of different products on Amazon, Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10, we found that Amazon indeed has prices that are roughly 5-30% cheaper than its competitors. We found this to be especially true for books & electronics, categories where Amazon traditionally has shown biggest strength. While this might be partly due to Amazon's discounts to promote the site's launch, we expect to see the company to continue its aggressive pricing strategy for some time. As an analogy, Amazon executed the exact same strategy in India for many years to compete successfully against its rivals like Flipkart and Snapdeal. Because it has such a profitable business in the US, it should be able to sustain losses in Singapore (and in SE Asia) to provide lowest win over consumers.

Amazon is 5-30% cheaper than other e-commerce platforms in Singapore

How Do Delivery Services Compare?

In terms of delivery service, Amazon and Shopee seem to have an edge so far. For example, Amazon offers free 2-3 day delivery on all local orders above S$40, while Shopee seems to be running a promotional free 2-4 day delivery for all orders at the moment (usually charges about S$1.99). In comparison, we found that Lazada and Qoo10 provide less competitive experience for buyers, with either a slower and more expensive delivery or higher minimum order size.

Amazon & Shopee seem to be providing the best delivery service in Singapore for online shoppers

However, Amazon's Prime membership package really outshines everyone. Priced at just S$2.99 per month, Amazon Prime provides an unmatched free 1 day delivery for all local orders and free international orders above S$60. On top of this, you get to enjoy Amazon Prime Video and Twitch Prime as well. This is substantially cheaper than Lazada's LiveUp which costs S$5.99 per month or S$59.9 per year. While LiveUp does provide other valuable perks like 2 free months of Netflix membership, free foodpanda deliveries and Grab discounts, Amazon Prime seems to be a cheaper and simpler service for people who just want the best online shopping experience.

Amazon Prime is a cheaper and simpler subscription for online shoppers than Lazada's LiveUp

Some Limitations in Selection, But That Gap Will Close

Still, Amazon's Singapore operation doesn't outshine its peers in every aspect yet. Namely, its selection of merchandise still seems to be somewhat behind Lazada, Shopee & Qoo10. For instance, Amazon currently lists 11 categories of merchandise from Home & Kitchen to Grocery. While other 3 platforms cover all of these 11 categories, they also feature a wide arrange of items in fashion, travel, sports, pets and automotive categories. Although Amazon definitely sells products in these categories, selection seems to be relatively limited and mostly feature goods sold by overseas merchants. Still, if history is any indicator, this gap in selection will close over time as Amazon continues to grow its presence in the country.

Amazon Singapore has slightly narrower selection of goods than other e-commerce platforms in the country

Everyone Should At Least Check Amazon's Prices Everytime They Shop Online

After examining the facts, it seems clear now that every shopper in Singapore has to at least check out Amazon every time they are buying something online. Amazon may not have every single item that other platforms sell, but our survey of prices shows that buyers will likely be able to find meaningfully lower prices on Amazon for the exact same items they find on other sites. Not only that, they could also get cheaper and faster deliveries on their orders, not to a pickup point, but directly to their homes. Amazon seems set not only to stay, but to succeed in Singapore.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

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