Room for growth in local retailers' e-commerce capacity

Transactions with local entities made up about three-quarters of online payments with locally issued cards over the past three years, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann said yesterday.

But there is still room to grow in expanding local retailers' e-commerce capacity, she added.

Ms Sim was replying in Parliament to MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who had asked about the impact of overseas e-commerce on local businesses.

"While e-commerce presents competition... it also gives Singapore retailers the opportunity to expand their reach," she said.

In all, online payments to local entities were worth about $18.3 billion over the past three years, against the $6.4 billion of transactions with foreign entities. But this includes e-commerce and other payments such as bills, she noted.

Only about 3 per cent of retail receipts in Singapore comes from e-commerce. The Government has previously said it aims to raise this share to 10 per cent by 2020.

  • $18.3b

    Value of online payments to local entities over the past three years.

    $6.4b 

    Value of online payments to foreign entities.

Ms Sim told Parliament that government agencies, trade associations and chambers and private-sector companies can all help local small and medium-sized enterprises build digital capabilities and gain access to online marketplaces.

MP Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) asked: "Are we losing out, in terms of GDP, for our local retailers, to e-commerce?"

Operating receipts for the retail industry were close to $35.8 billion in 2015, making up about 1.4 per cent of GDP or gross domestic product. Ms Sim added that capability-building strategies for local businesses will include "upskilling the workforce".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Room for growth in local retailers' e-commerce capacity'. Print Edition | Subscribe