updated 3 Jun 2013, 18:39
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Wed, Oct 31, 2012
The Business Times
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Singapore shoppers drive mobile shopping boom
by Joyce Hooi

Qoo10, an online purveyor of all things feminine and frilly, is experiencing the combined bonanza of impulse shopping and mobile phones.

The retailer reported $15 million in mobile sales across the region by mid-October - a year after launching its mobile app - with Singapore as its fastest-growing market.

Of the 700,000 mobile app downloads, Singapore accounted for 64 per cent - or more than 450,000 - of them. On the sales front, Singapore contributed $5.5 million of the $15 million in total mobile sales - a 37 per cent slice of a pie shared with Qoo10's markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Globally, Qoo10's total transactions - online and mobile - hit 1.4 million by September. While Japan is Qoo10's largest market, with daily transactions averaging 30,000, the Singapore market is Qoo10's fastest- growing one, said Cho Hyun Wook, Qoo10's Singapore country manager. "It leads the rest of the country websites at an average of 20 per cent increase in transactions every month," said Mr Cho.

The Singapore market might do only 25,000 daily transactions on average, but it spends far above its weight. "Taking into the consideration the national populations, Qoo10 Singapore holds the highest ratio of sales to country size," Mr Cho noted.

The Singaporean shopaholic also goes against the tide of shopping behaviour exhibited by her counterparts in neighbouring countries.

"There are more weekend transactions than weekdays on Qoo10 Singapore.This is a unique pattern as compared to other Qoo10 marketplaces where transactions are higher on weekdays than weekends," said Mr Cho. "A logical explanation is that people in Singapore are dedicated to work and school during weekdays, and online shopping is reserved for weekend relaxation."

According to him, this Singaporean dedication to shopping manifests itself in the activity on marketplaces and discussions among fellow shoppers. One particular blouse, for instance, generated more than 80,000 photo reviews on its own, he said.

While the percentage of mobile transactions stands at just 15 per cent across all the markets, Qoo10 expects this proportion to double to 30 per cent over the next 12 months. Sales are expected to grow from $15 million to $18 million, with Singapore's contribution forecast at $7 million.

Even as mobile volume is set to boom, Qoo10 remains mindful of how much remains to be done.

"As most sellers have not been inducted to the potential of mobile selling, most of their content is not mobile-friendly. Qoo10 understands that image-viewing is integral to induce online buying, and has been working to transform our available resources into mobile-friendly content," Mr Cho said.

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