Apparel and footwear in Singapore is in a flux due to sluggish sales in 2018, following the trend from previous years. This is not only related to falling tourist numbers, especially high disposable income Chinese visitors, but also generally cautious discretionary spending among Singaporeans stemming from the recently weak local economy.
While fast fashion has revolutionised Singapore’s shopping scene with its rapid churning out of designs to keep up with demand, there has been much criticism recently regarding the impact of these fast fashion brands on the environment. Questions regarding the sustainability of these brands have arisen due to the cheap, disposable and carbon-intensive nature of the products they sell, which end up getting treated in non-ecological ways such as being landfilled.
With its more competitive prices, as well as the ease and transparency of making price or product comparisons online, internet retailing is gaining sales share within apparel and footwear at the expense of physical retail outlets. Further contributing to online sales is the highly popular concept of showrooming, with a growing number of consumers browsing products in stores and purchasing them online.
Fast fashion brand Uniqlo bucked the retail crunch in Singapore yet again in 2018, posting double-digit growth. Despite soaring far above other players in terms of value sales, Uniqlo deserves credit for its constant efforts to improve and sustain high sales.
Going forward, Uniqlo aims to be the number one brand in Southeast Asia and Oceania by following its stand-alone suburban store expansion plan to widen coverage outside shopping malls. The company has already opened these stand-alone stores in Thailand and plans to do the same in Philippines and Malaysia, with Singapore expected to be among the next locations for development in this area.
Physical apparel and footwear retail stores continue to struggle to attract footfall due to competition from internet retailers. In addition, these online retailers are now encroaching upon the domain of bricks-and-mortar stores by setting-up their own physical stores, thus providing the best of both worlds.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.