Singapore’s online grocery market set to triple by 2020
Singapore’s online grocery market is set to triple in growth over the next three years, from S$130 million (US$91 million) to S$0.5 billion (US$0.35 billion) by 2020, according to brand-new forecasts unveiled today by international grocery research organisation IGD.
At the end of 2016, IGD valued online grocery to have a 1.2 percent share of the Singaporean grocery market. Reflecting rapidly changing shopper habits in the region and increased investment in the online channel from retailers and suppliers, IGD is further forecasting online to take a 4 percent share of Singapore’s grocery market by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent.
Revealing the figures at the IGD RedMart Trade Briefing, held today (23rd February) in Singapore, Nick Miles, IGD’s Head of Asia-Pacific, said: “Singapore is hailing a new era of digital grocery retailing, driven by the entry of RedMart in 2011, Giant and Sheng Siong launching online grocery in 2013 and plenty of smaller start-up businesses also looking to grab a slice of the action.
“Shopper habits are changing rapidly in South East Asia and in a compact city such as Singapore, with its relatively affluent population, big expat community and high penetration of internet and smartphone usage, there are huge opportunities for online grocery to meet these evolving needs.
“To make the most of this opportunity, retailers and suppliers must work together to ensure they really understand online shoppers and can tailor experiences and products to suit their personal preferences.
“First, retailers are looking to improve the overall online experience, by getting the basics of search functions, favourites, images and information right for shoppers. At the same time, they’ll be aiming to make delivery options as convenient as possible, whether that’s through shorter timespan delivery slots or greater choice of click and collect points throughout the region.
“Our UK data shows that 80 percent of shoppers cite convenience as their number-one reason for shopping online, and we would anticipate Singaporean shoppers to have a very similar mindset when heading online for their groceries.
“We also expect online grocery retailers in the region to encourage shopper loyalty through personalised offers and products, plus subscription models and delivery saver passes. On top of that, shoppers in the region are increasingly connected via mobile, so ensuring a seamless shopping experience no matter what device they are using will be critical.
“Coupled with an increased focus on using innovations such as voice-activated technology, virtual reality and robotics, we predict huge opportunities for those retailers and suppliers who really invest in making the online grocery channel work for them in Singapore.”
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here