Singapore tackles flailing retail spend through Orchard Road revitalisation

As Singapore’s tourism receipts plateau with declines seen in shopping and F&B spend, efforts to stimulate expenditure through reinvigorating one of the city’s traditional retail hotspots is underway.

According to latest figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), tourism receipts in Singapore have plateaued, stagnating at some S$13.4 billion (US$9.9 billion) in 1H2018. The statistics, shared at the ATF in Halong Bay last week, also reflected a dip of 15 per cent in total tourist spend on shopping.

Orchard Road, Singapore

A major reason for this trend is the advent of online retail, which has become a universal bugbear, said Oliver Chong, executive director communications & marketing capability, marketing group, STB.

But hope is found in the Chinese market – Singapore’s top arrival market – which spent 13 per cent more in for 1H2018 compared to 1H2017, with shopping as the highest proportion, shared Chong.

To revitalise Singapore’s retail offerings, STB is embarking on a joint project with Enterprise Singapore and Jurong Town Council at the junction of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road.

Design Orchard, opening on Jan 25, will showcase and support more than 60 up-and-coming Singapore designers and brands. The development comprises a retail showcase, designer incubation spaces and a rooftop events space.

Chong said: “When people go travelling, they like to buy things that are unique to the (destination) country. While we are grateful for all the global brands in Singapore, what we (also) want tourists to see and appreciate are designs that they can’t get anywhere else.

“We hope that Design Orchard will encourage more Singapore-based designers and reshape the retail perception of Orchard.”

Chong added that STB is considering other plans to “transform some of the key shopping districts in Orchard Road”, and may reveal these projects in the coming weeks.

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