$5 musang king: Price war among durian sellers at Marine Parade draws large crowd

$5 musang king: Price war among durian sellers at Marine Parade draws large crowd
Queues form around the four stores in a durian price war in Marine Parade after their prices dive as low as $5 per musang king durian.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

How low can you go? While some durian sellers are doing the limbo over their low durian prices, others are beginning to feel the thorns pricking their backs.

Four durian stores in Marine Parade — three of which are within 5m of each other — have begun to price themselves competitively, driving up crowd density and driving down the price of the coveted musang king durian, Shin Min Daily News reported today (June 13).

Starting from as low as $5, durian seller Li, 34, implemented his promotional pricing with additional requirements where each person can only buy two durians, while stocks last.

Another seller who moved to the Marine Parade location this year, also known as Li, 32, sells his musang king for $8 each, but restricts purchases to three per person.

A Grade A musang king durian, for example, weighs approximately 1.6kg and sells for about $25 per kilogram online, according to information on durian retailer 99 Old Trees' website.

"Customers start queuing at 4pm, with some bringing their entire family here," 32-year-old Li told Shin Min Daily News. "We won't impose restrictions — children can also buy them."

Li's $8 musang king durian was sold out within two hours, he added.

34-year-old Li offered alternatives to his $5 musang king, telling Shin Min Daily News: "We have many promotions such as red prawn durians for $8 to $12 and $12 musang king durians - these are not limited for purchase."

But while customers flock to stores offering lower prices, some may forget other sellers trying to eke a living, he said.

"There's a lot of competition in this location, which does affect some of us sellers," 34-year-old Li also added.

Another vendor by name of Li, 30, also explained that price wars were to be expected in the area, but it isn't necessarily good business for him.

"I used to see a steady stream of customers [in 2020], but now customers will shop around," the 30-year-old said. "Some customers think that we don't do promotions, but the truth is that this is the price of durians that our suppliers have given us."

A large majority — over 85 per cent — of durians imported into Singapore are from Malaysia, according to a report by Business Insider Malaysia in March.

With the bad harvest this year, durian prices in Malaysia have risen, making it more difficult to procure durians for sale in Singapore, hence affecting the prices of durians here.

Even so, some Singaporeans are very serious when it comes to their love for durians.

Last Wednesday, a durian salesperson found himself pressed between a rock and a prickly place when a dissatisfied customer requested the popular musang king durian but received "King of Kings" durian instead. 

The customer felt like she had been scammed and mocked in their following conversation, but the salesperson maintained that he owned up to his mistake and even provided better goods since "King of Kings" was the more expensive breed.

READ ALSO: Cafe review: Durian gets chic at 99 Old Trees, a durian dessert haven in Teo Hong Road


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