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The Baffling State of Prices and Retail in Singapore

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Brah
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Postby Brah » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 7:17 pm

I agree with this, and that it is a much-overlooked point and in fact usually seen 180-degrees the wrong way, in that anyone coming here is living in the Expat world.

It's been a while and don't remember if I'd posted this under my current or now-inactive moniker, that there is what you give up from wherever back home is - anything from cheaper goods, more variety in the things you're accustomed to having, food, more cultural outlets - art, music, concerts, fashion, nightlife, etc., more openness (i.e. not going to jail for flipping someone the deserved bird), to things that you can't or shouldn't of you can get here that you can back home that I won't even mention but you can figure it out.

So no, it's not a hardship posting either but you definitely give up things to be here. And of course you get things here that you don't get there either like pools and tennis courts with your condo, closeness to other places to visit, etc.


Oh yeah and for Americans, double taxation.

ScoobyDoes wrote:
Mi Amigo wrote:I wouldn't characterise it as 'hardship' (not in my case anyway); a certain sense of tediousness and irritation from time to time, certainly, but you have to take the rough with the smooth as they say.



I was equating the hardship to back home.....for many people coming here it is a huge step up from their previous environment but for many as well it is far from easy, or as easy as Singapore pretents it is.

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Postby sensei_ » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 10:13 pm

you think stuff is expensive in sg. wait til you see the items in oz.

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 10:17 pm

sensei_ wrote:you think stuff is expensive in sg. wait til you see the items in oz.


I've been to and seen items in Oz and I've also heard people and the government there complaining and looking into it. That rant will come some other time.

However, online shopping seems to be more lively in Oz then here.

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Postby sensei_ » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 1:20 pm

nakatago wrote:I've been to and seen items in Oz and I've also heard people and the government there complaining and looking into it. That rant will come some other time.

However, online shopping seems to be more lively in Oz then here.


singaporeans too kiasu to send money first?

my cousin said i was crazy to buy stuff online, sending money first, and what not. until he saw the savings for himself. in some cases, branded stuff at 50% off rrp from reputable websites.

the beaut of online shopping in oz? 1000$ tax free treshold.

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 1:49 pm

sensei_ wrote:
nakatago wrote:However, online shopping seems to be more lively in Oz then here.


singaporeans too kiasu to send money first?



Probably; also SMS says (since he's been here since a dehydrated prince saw what he thought was a lion...which is funny because there are no lions in this part of the world) that Singaporeans like to touch things first. You know, to ruin the merchandise for the next buyer.

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Postby v4jr4 » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 1:52 pm

sensei_ wrote:you think stuff is expensive in sg. wait til you see the items in oz.


My friend who worked in oz said that you can expect a 5$ banana on a certain season *eyes popped out* :shock:
"Budget Expat"

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Postby Callput » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 3:49 pm

v4jr4 wrote:
sensei_ wrote:you think stuff is expensive in sg. wait til you see the items in oz.


My friend who worked in oz said that you can expect a 5$ banana on a certain season *eyes popped out* :shock:


The higher cost in Australia is due to high labour costs. Mainly things that involve labour like food etc.

But stuff that is manufactured in China, I would imagine is cheaper in Australia and the US but expensive in Singapore. Thats what drives people crazy considering Singapore is much closer to China than US is. Why on earth does it cost more in Singapore, especially considering traditional ties with China and so many businesses here have direct tie up with China. :???:

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 4:53 pm

Callput wrote:
v4jr4 wrote:
sensei_ wrote:you think stuff is expensive in sg. wait til you see the items in oz.


My friend who worked in oz said that you can expect a 5$ banana on a certain season *eyes popped out* :shock:


The higher cost in Australia is due to high labour costs. Mainly things that involve labour like food etc.

But stuff that is manufactured in China, I would imagine is cheaper in Australia and the US but expensive in Singapore. Thats what drives people crazy considering Singapore is much closer to China than US is. Why on earth does it cost more in Singapore, especially considering traditional ties with China and so many businesses here have direct tie up with China. :???:


Volume and entrenched Good Ole Boys.

I was thinking about this today. In the US, you can go to a budget store like Target or Walmart and get a cheap but quality vacuum cleaner (or anything of the like) for a good price. Say US $50. In Singapore, you pay the same or more for these super crap local brands with fake Japanese sounding names. I'm sure they're coming from the same factories as the Target or Walmart vacuum cleaners that go for US $15-20. But here, there isn't as much volume to allow profit with lower margins, and IMO, more entrenched greed. Competition won't really be allowed as easily as say in the US where (almost) anything goes as long as limbs aren't being severed.

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Postby RimBlock » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 1:00 pm

On moving here a number of years ago I remember the disappointment that computer items were as expensive here as they were in the UK even factoring in that in the UK the VAT was 17.5% (at the time). Surely some mistake as the travel / shipping costs must be lower from Taiwan / China than to ship to the UK.

The UK has always been more expensive than the US and this was generally excused away due to economies of scale and, certainly in the music industry, excuses of having to better tailor marketing to the more discerning customer (hey, their words, not mine :P ). It does not help that UK prices generally have VAT where applicable and US prices do not have the local tax included.

I bought a HD projector a couple of years ago. The local price was over double the US price and when questioned, the shops reply was that there is no international warranty on the non-local version. When signing up with various distributors last year I approached the company distributing Onkyo amplifiers (same company distributing Yamaha incidentally :wink: ) and was told they have no wish to expand their reseller base. This, to me, reads as either they are protecting their current resellers from any competition or they have not got the capacity to supply any more companies. I suspect the former TBH.

From what I have seen from the IT side of things, most brands have either a single distributor who may or may not try to enforce retailers sticking to their SRP or multiple distributors who insist on a SRP that retailers have to sell at. One example of this is with a very well known brand selling a very good product that has just arrived in Singapore. This unit has been very well received in the UK and US and is very popular. Distributor to retailer pricing is ok, not great but fairly standard for SG compared to other places, but the SRP is terrible. I am pretty sure that there would be a good market for the unit if the price was reasonable but cannot give better pricing as it would risk the my ability to make available the entire brands range. I clearly told the distributors how stupid the pricing was and that I would happily take a margin cut in order to offer at a better price for the consumer but they / the brand were not interested. Shame as the unit will probably fail here because of it.

Sometimes it is not the retailer but the distributor or the brand setting the price. Of course sometimes it is the retailer.

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Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 2:03 pm

RimBlock wrote:On moving here a number of years ago I remember the disappointment that computer items were as expensive here as they were in the UK even factoring in that in the UK the VAT was 17.5% (at the time). Surely some mistake as the travel / shipping costs must be lower from Taiwan / China than to ship to the UK.

The UK has always been more expensive than the US and this was generally excused away due to economies of scale and, certainly in the music industry, excuses of having to better tailor marketing to the more discerning customer (hey, their words, not mine :P ). It does not help that UK prices generally have VAT where applicable and US prices do not have the local tax included.

I bought a HD projector a couple of years ago. The local price was over double the US price and when questioned, the shops reply was that there is no international warranty on the non-local version. When signing up with various distributors last year I approached the company distributing Onkyo amplifiers (same company distributing Yamaha incidentally :wink: ) and was told they have no wish to expand their reseller base. This, to me, reads as either they are protecting their current resellers from any competition or they have not got the capacity to supply any more companies. I suspect the former TBH.

From what I have seen from the IT side of things, most brands have either a single distributor who may or may not try to enforce retailers sticking to their SRP or multiple distributors who insist on a SRP that retailers have to sell at. One example of this is with a very well known brand selling a very good product that has just arrived in Singapore. This unit has been very well received in the UK and US and is very popular. Distributor to retailer pricing is ok, not great but fairly standard for SG compared to other places, but the SRP is terrible. I am pretty sure that there would be a good market for the unit if the price was reasonable but cannot give better pricing as it would risk the my ability to make available the entire brands range. I clearly told the distributors how stupid the pricing was and that I would happily take a margin cut in order to offer at a better price for the consumer but they / the brand were not interested. Shame as the unit will probably fail here because of it.

Sometimes it is not the retailer but the distributor or the brand setting the price. Of course sometimes it is the retailer.

RB


For some bigger ticket IT items, it's cheaper to buy a ticket to HK and buy it there than it is just to buy it here. If you're travelling anywhere in Eastern Asia, I always recommend flying through HKG (Cathay is always a pleasure anyway) and doing a day trip into the city to grab things you need to buy. Even a four hour layover is plenty of time thanks to Airport Express. Anything you could want to buy on Orchard Rd is sold in IFC right above Hong Kong station, and Wan Chai Computer Center (blows away Sim Lim) is no more than 5-10 mins (including walking and transfer) by MTR.

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Postby Travailes » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 2:25 pm

RimBlock wrote: When signing up with various distributors last year I approached the company distributing Onkyo amplifiers (same company distributing Yamaha incidentally :wink: ) and was told they have no wish to expand their reseller base. This, to me, reads as either they are protecting their current resellers from any competition or they have not got the capacity to supply any more companies. I suspect the former TBH.

RB


....which lead to the birth of the so-called 'Grey Market' where un-appointed retailers were selling genuine luxury goods bought from third-party wholesalers. I seem to remember it started with jeans in the UK where Levi stores were selling them at (at a guess) £100GBP but Tesco's were selling them for £50. It then went to perfume and all the brands were complaining that Tesco's wasn't a fitting environment for their goods to be on sale. Utter bunkum. It drove down prices which consumers benefited from and the brands themselves realised that actually they sold more of their product in a supermarket than they did a a trendy boutique store in a high street location. Stand corrected but I'm also pretty sure that this practice was not ruled illegal under the rules of EU trading so could not be challenged in the courts.
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Postby RimBlock » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 2:52 pm

Yes, I recall, back in the hazy past :) . The problem is that a lot of people I deal with, first question is "Got local warranty ?.". I picked up some 120GB SSDs from someone I know in the US. Kept some for myself and went to sell two off. Price is around 20% discount on new for hardly touched second user drives but there was no interest with no local warranty. I kept them in the end and use them as cache disks in my servers.

Hard drive pricing was a big sticking point recently. Prior to the floods in Thailand, the markup was around S$1 per unit for most consumer models (bare drive SLS). The floods hit and the opportunity was taken to realign pricing but not as badly as many thought / think, not at a distributor / retailer level at any rate. From my view the pricing on hard drives is more reasonible and by that I mean more in line with other components.

There is little if any competition at a distributor level here for most IT brands and there seems to be a fairly high turnover of sales staff (I have seen 5 sales / account managers change at various distributors in the last year. One distro changed 3 times in 12 months). Makes it hard to build and keep good relationships, build confidence and then be able to provide trusted feedback on products and pricing that the distributors feel safer to act on.

The projector I ended up purchasing locally and in a way it was a good thing I did as the bulb went after 11 months and 996 hours (bulb is warrantied for 1 year or 1000 hours). I was able to get a free replacement inc fitting and I understand the current generation of bulds are likely to last much better.

I do personally import some items for my own use as I am not so concerned with warranty for most items and some of the tings are just easier to get from Amazon or the like. I also like getting it delivered to my door as I very much hate SLS :).

RB
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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 3:41 pm

Being a girl, I LOVE online shopping. There are a few US sites that offers free international shipping for more than USD$100 as well. Shoes, bags and clothes are marked up significantly in Singapore (50% or more) and sometimes, I would try for my size at a boutique and have it shipped in. Most of them are reputable shopping malls that offers international shipping like Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc.

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Postby RimBlock » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 3:49 pm

Girl_Next_Door wrote:Being a girl, I LOVE online shopping. There are a few US sites that offers free international shipping for more than USD$100 as well. Shoes, bags and clothes are marked up significantly in Singapore (50% or more) and sometimes, I would try for my size at a boutique and have it shipped in. Most of them are reputable shopping malls that offers international shipping like Saks, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc.


Quite an extreme example but we were on Sentosa this weekend and had a meal in the Hard Rock restaurant. After my wife took a look in the shop and really liked the dark brown jacket with a hood. She almost fainted when she saw the price tag listing it at around S$360 or so. On mentioning this to the staff, after confirming we were local it was suggested we checkout the online store where it is being sold for US$120. Kudos to the staff for telling us although there is no way we would have bought it from there even if they hadn't.

My wife is not really in to internet shopping (she is local) is probably lucky really :wink: ....

RB
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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 26 Nov 2012 3:55 pm

zzm9980 wrote:For some bigger ticket IT items, it's cheaper to buy a ticket to HK and buy it there than it is just to buy it here. If you're travelling anywhere in Eastern Asia, I always recommend flying through HKG (Cathay is always a pleasure anyway) and doing a day trip into the city to grab things you need to buy. Even a four hour layover is plenty of time thanks to Airport Express. Anything you could want to buy on Orchard Rd is sold in IFC right above Hong Kong station, and Wan Chai Computer Center (blows away Sim Lim) is no more than 5-10 mins (including walking and transfer) by MTR.



That certainly used to be the case.

I bought my last laptop in HK for about S$800 whilst here the same machine was going for over S$1000.

I am checking laptop prices again and there is a Win8 Toshiba selling for HKD12,999 (S$2,050) but exactly the same time i got that message from my BIL, Harvey Norman had their advert on TV with the same machine at S$1,999 with additional freebies.

Now, the S$60 might not be much but there were a couple of extra freebies on top and I would have a local contact to throw it at if it turned out to be a lemon.

At the same time I was checking monitors as my one at home failed, prices are the same here now at in HK.

Finally, checking up on the new Nokia phone...... it looks like pricing is going to be within $10-20 between here and HK so it could finally be that the higher SGD rate advocated by MAS is impacting at least something.
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