More Singaporeans go online to shop for festive gifts

More Singaporeans go online to shop for festive gifts
Shoppers at basement two (B2) of Ion Orchard shopping mall.

'Tis the season to be jolly - and, typically, to brave the heaving crowds in the malls in order to get all that Christmas shopping done.

However, a small, but growing, number of Singaporeans are eschewing visiting physical stores and heading online instead to do their festive shopping.

One of them is pre-school drama teacher Grace Lim, 30, who has done about 90 per cent of her gift-shopping on the Web.

"I'm too tired to battle the hordes of die-hard shoppers," she said.

Industry players told MyPaper they have been handling more transactions here in the lead-up to Christmas this year compared to the same period previously.

The most popular countries from which those in Singapore purchase goods include the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Britain.

A United Overseas Bank survey of 500 Singapore residents released yesterday found that 35 per cent of all Christmas shopping is being done online, compared with 28 per cent last year.

Last month, the volume of Speedpost parcels increased by 10 per cent compared to November last year, a SingPost spokesman said. This is on top of an already higher-than-usual volume - between 10 per cent and 20 per cent higher - it usually sees during the year-end holiday season.

The spokesman added: "The availability of (various) payment options and modes of delivery, as well as the flexibility to shop anytime, anywhere, help to spur online shopping."

Logistics provider Fedex Singapore said it expected the first week of this month to be its busiest of the year, with more than 85 million shipments moved globally, a 13 per cent increase compared to last year's busiest week.

Managing director Khoo Seng-Thiam said popular items in inbound shipments include apparel, health supplements, personal consumer electronics and books. He noted that with a relatively strong Singapore dollar this year, "overseas online shopping makes sense".

Online payment website PayPal told MyPaper that Cyber Monday and Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - have gained momentum in Asia due to the deep discounts offered by major brands.

Singapore purchases from US merchants surged by 21 per cent from 2011 to last year for these days, with the trend expected to continue this year, said Mr Lawrence Chan, PayPal's general manager and vice-president of Asia-Pacific merchant services. Figures for this year were unavailable .

But some, like marketing manager Michelle Sim, 29, still prefer being hands-on when it comes to festive shopping.

She said: "I like to be able to actually check for things like size and quality before I buy."

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