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Online retail the ‘silver lining’ in Singapore retail space

The Singapore retail real estate market has weakened amidst the coronavirus pandemic, according to a quarterly market report released by Edmund Tie.

Transactions fell across all real estate sectors despite significant support measures passed by the government under its Unity Budget, Resilience and Solidarity Packages.

In retail, an industry already battling a recession throughout last year, with weak signs of recovery reversed by the outbreak, travel restrictions and social-distancing measures are thought to have largely contributed to a downturn in sales. 

Turnover by retailers in prominent Singapore retail districts such as Chinatown plummeted by as much as 80 per cent. Sales at Jewel Changi Airport contracted by as much as 70 per cent in the same month.

“A silver lining in this otherwise gloomy scenario is that the demand for online shopping has surged, as people turned to e-commerce in lieu of physical stores,” said Edmund Tie’s paper. In February, online retail sales accounted for 7.4 per cent of total retail transactions, up from 5.5 per cent in January.

“The pandemic will fast-track the adoption of technology, from omnichannel retailing to greater use of data analytics to better understand consumers and their preferences,” said Edmund Tie CEO Ong Choon Fah. 

“New and creative ideas will emerge when the situation stabilises and we enter a new normal. The diversification of revenue streams arising from adopting an omnichannel approach will make retailers more resilient over the long term.”

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