Singapore: key developments in online channel

Date : 09 July 2020

Soo-Eng Tan

Senior Retail Analyst

COVID-19 pandemic has generated a surge in demand for online grocery shopping around the world. In Singapore, shoppers could not get delivery slots across the major grocery retailers in the initial phase of the pandemic, resulting in a lot of frustration. The situation has improved significantly in the last couple of months. We round up the key initiatives of major retailers to meet online shopping demand in the first half of this year.

Lazada (RedMart)

  • Added new contactless sunrise delivery (before 7am)
  • Added more flexible 6 hour delivery slots at lower costs for shoppers
  • Hired more than 500 workers for warehouse and delivery
  • Increased logistics capacity by 50%
  • Increased supply chain sources by 10%, including local farmers
  • Started a program with local taxi company to tap on their drivers for grocery delivery
  • Re-optimize logistics operations to serving different areas on different days so it could serve more shoppers temporarily
  • Changed assortment to focus on essentials – adjusting this according to demand


  • Foodpanda started as a last mile delivery provider for restaurants in Singapore. It expanded into grocery delivery from supermarkets like Hao Mart in September 2019 under Pandamart.
  • This year, it launched Pandanow, which delivers groceries from its own warehouse inventory instead of its retail partners


  • Started GrabMart as a daily essentials delivery service to support shoppers from leading supermarkets like FairPrice Express
  • GrabMart has also partnered with urban farmers and local suppliers to bring fresh produce and meat to shoppers

FairPrice online

  • Increased upgraded its online grocery infrastructure in two phases this year, adding 30% in capacity each time
  • Trained 150 members to become skilled pickers and packers
  • Converted two stores into dedicated fulfilment centres for online delivery

Cold Storage and Giant online (operated by Dairy Farm)

  • Added new online fulfilment centres and hiring to increase capacity by threefold
  • Introduced new click and collect option at selected stores across the island

Hao Mart

  • Besides being one of Foodpanda’s partner, it added HAO Essential Goods Store on its website this year. This includes dry groceries, cooking essentials, drinks, cleaning aids, health and personal products.

Our view

We believe that COVID-19 has both short-term and longer term impact for ecommerce. COVID-19 has forced retailers to prioritise digital capability. However, it has an impact on retailer’s operating margins. Technologies that reduce operating cost, programmes that enhance shoppers’ loyalty and incentivise shoppers back to physical stores are some of the emerging trends.

Subscribers can read more about the longer term implications here.