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Singapore retail sales fall 6.1% in January, decline in most industries

Singapore retail sales fall 6.1% in January, decline in most industries

A general view of malls in the shopping district of Orchard Road in Singapore. (Photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: Retail sales in Singapore fell 6.1 per cent in January, compared with the 3.3 per cent year-on-year decline recorded in December last year.

The larger decline was due partly to a higher sales recorded in January last year, when Chinese New Year was celebrated, said the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday (Mar 5).

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 8.4 per cent in January, compared with the 4.2 per cent decline last December.

Compared to the previous month, seasonally adjusted retail sales also decreased 1.8 per cent in January. Excluding motor vehicles, seasonally adjusted sales fell 2.4 per cent.

READ: Singapore economy expected to bounce back this year, bulk of it 'should be able to recover': PM Lee

The estimated total retail sales value for January was S$3.8 billion. Online retail sales made up about 10.3 per cent of this, slightly lower than the 10.9 per cent recorded last December, said SingStat.

The retail sales value excluding motor vehicles was S$3.2 billion, with online sales making up 12.1 per cent.

Online retail sales made up 40.8 per cent of total receipts in the computer and telecommunications equipment industry, 23.2 per cent of sales in furniture and household equipment and 11.6 per cent of sales in supermarkets and hypermarkets.


On a year-on-year basis, most retail industries continued to see sales decline in January.

Sales fell across the department stores, cosmetics, toiletries, medical goods and apparel and footwear industries as they are still affected by low visitor arrivals, said SingStat.

READ: Visitor arrivals to Singapore plummet more than 80% in 2020, expected to stay weak amid COVID-19: STB

The biggest dip was in food and alcohol, which saw a 43.6 per cent decline in sales compared to the same period last year.

(Table: SingStat)

Among the exceptions were the furniture and household equipment and computer and telecommunications equipment industries, where sales grew by 25.9 per cent and 24.8 per cent respectively.

This was mainly due to higher demand for household appliances and the launch of new mobile phones, said SingStat.

Sales in motor vehicles, supermarkets and hypermarkets and recreational goods also grew by 10.3 per cent, 7.8 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, however, only the food and alcohol, motor vehicles and petrol service stations industries experienced growth of 5.1 per cent, 2.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.


Giving an overview of food and beverage services, SingStat said that sales fell 24.7 per cent in January on a year-on-year basis, deeper than the 16.3 per cent decline recorded last December.

Food caterers saw the largest decline, with sales plummeting 76 per cent year-on-year.

(Table: SingStat)

Sales in restaurants, fast food outlets and cafes, food courts as well as other eating outlets fell 30.2 per cent, 6.7 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively.

All industries also registered declines of between 3.6 per cent and 10.1 per cent on a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales across food and beverage services fell 6.5 per cent over the previous month.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in January was estimated at S$720 million.

Of this, online sales made up about 22.1 per cent, slightly higher than 21.3 per cent last December.


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