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Singaporean online shoppers prefer desktops to phones

Singaporeans are three times more likely to complete purchases on desktop computers rather than mobile phones, despite the city having the highest smartphone penetration globally.

That’s one of a series of findings in a study by iPrice Group on e-commerce trends across Southeast Asia comparing Singaporean online shoppers with those in other markets.

Even for mobile conversion rates, Singapore comes in 10 per cent lower than the Southeast Asian average.

“This is not a trend seen only in Singapore but all around Southeast Asia,” said the report. “According to KPMG insights on online purchase behaviour, 57 per cent of consumers still prefer to use desktop PCs or laptops for online shopping despite the increased usage of smartphones and tablets. Only 17 per cent state they prefer to use mobile devices.

“This may be caused by the app and mobile site transaction experiences which still need to be improved.”

Matteo Sutto, chief marketing officer with iPrice Group, says this could be explained by users structurally using mobile and desktop in a different way.

“You would access whatever e-commerce website on mobile whenever you have a few minutes free, just browsing around without a strong purchase intent,” he said. “However, typically when you access the e-commerce website on desktop, you tend to have a higher purchase intent and more  time to go through with the purchase. So this explains why structurally, there is a big difference between mobile and desktop when it comes to conversion rates.”

While accounting for the minority of transactions, web-browsing by mobile phone continues to increase. The share of online traffic from mobile devices rose from 64 per cent to 74 per cent in the space of a year to the end of the second quarter.

“This is not surprising considering the expected increase of mobile phone internet users among Singaporeans, as shown on Statista. The number accessing the internet by mobile is expected to grow from 3.42 million in 2016 to 4.21 million in 2022.

Shopping after hours

In another finding, Singapore is the only country in Southeast Asia where people shop online more after hours than during work time. Others – even in nearby Malaysia – predominantly shop during work hours.

“The number of orders placed by Singaporeans is the lowest among Southeast Asian countries during working hours. However, starting from 4pm, we observed the numbers increase gradually, eventually taking first spot at 6pm.”

And Singaporeans continue to shop the latest into the night – until 2am, placing the highest number of orders at 10pm.

Considering the largest demographic to shop online is aged between 25 and 54, showing most of the shoppers are of working age, it would seem natural for them to shop only after working hours. Or perhaps there is stricter enforcement on using the internet for personal reasons at the office.

Biggest baskets

Singaporean online shoppers lead the way in terms of basket size across Southeast Asian countries. According to the iPrice study, Singapore has the highest GDP per capita at US$90,000 – a long way ahead of second-placed Malaysia at $28,000, which makes the bigger average basket size difference less surprising.

More data and insights into Southeast Asian online shopping behaviour can be found in the full report online.

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