Singapore retail sales rise 6.6% in September, reversing dip in August

SINGAPORE’S retail sales rose 6.6 per cent year on year in September 2021, reversing the fall in August, following a strong showing from the computer and telecommunications industry, according to data from the Department of Statistics Singapore (SingStat) on Friday (Nov 5).

The computer and telecommunications industry recorded higher sales of mobile phones due to new product launches. The industry saw a 66.1 per cent year-on-year growth and 23.8 per cent month-on-month growth. It also accounted for 53.7 per cent of total online sales. 

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were up 8.3 per cent, compared to the flat growth in August 2021. Total retail sales in August fell 2.8 per cent.

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, total retail sales increased 6 per cent in September over the previous month, while the equivalent increase was 5.1 per cent, excluding motor vehicles.

On the whole, retail sales value remained below pre-Covid-19 levels at S$3.4 billion in September. Online retail sales comprised about 15.2 per cent of this amount, growing from August’s 14.1 per cent.

A majority of industries saw year-on-year increase in sales. After computer and telecommunications equipment, the next biggest winner was petrol service stations with a 22.3 per cent year on year rise. 

Sequentially, watches and jewellery saw a 13.3 per cent year-on-year and 5.5 per cent month-on-month growth. 

Cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods saw the biggest month-on-month rise of 13.5 per cent, while the year-on-year increase was 7.1 per cent. 

Optical goods and books was the biggest loser with a 10.4 per cent year-on-year decline, although the sector registered a 4.1 per cent increase from August 2021. 

Minimarts and convenience stores were the next biggest loser with a 6 per cent fall year on year, and 0.1 per cent month-on-month decline. 

Separately, sales of food and beverage services increased 4.4 per cent in September on a year-on-year basis, compared to the 6.7 per cent decline in August.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales of food & beverage services increased 12.1 per cent in September 2021 over the previous month.

The growth is mainly due to the lower base in August 2021 when there were stricter dine-in restrictions, SingStat said.  

As last year’s low-base effect fades, sales of food caterers grew 36.4 per cent in September on a year-on-year basis, and rose 1.9 per cent month on month. 

Similarly, turnover of fast food outlets increased 10.7 per cent year on year, and was up 3.4 per cent month on month. 

Cafes, food courts and other eating places increased 8.4 per cent year on year and 5.7 per cent month on month, due to higher demand for food deliveries.

However, restaurant sales fell 5.2 per cent, due to tightened dine-in restrictions in September, compared to the corresponding period a year ago. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, sales at restaurants climbed 27.7 per cent, largely due to the mostly lower base in August 2021.