Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/16/2012 -- Thanks to the robust retail sales outlook, increasing tourism arrivals and a strengthening Singaporean dollar, the domestic consumer sector is expected to weather the global economic slowdown relatively well. We are forecasting total retail sales to grow from SGD47.28bn (US$36.94bn) in 2012 to SGD51.34bn (US$42.78bn) in 2016.
While Singapore lacks the advantage of a massive consumer base, its low unemployment rate, the rapid influx of foreign immigrants and increasing visitor arrivals will continue to instil dynamism into the local retail scene and further buoy consumer spending.
The February 2011 budget provided a boost to consumer spending power, with the SGD6.6bn (US$5.2bn) package earmarked for households in 2011-2012 having positive implications for the Singapore consumer. Total growth dividends of up to SGD1.5bn (US$1.2bn) were distributed to all local adults, while individuals with lower incomes who live in public housing received a significantly higher portion. For the middle class, a personal income tax rebate of 20%, capped at SGD2,000 (US$1,569), was put in place for year-of-assessment 2011 (January-December).
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Singapore's nominal GDP is forecast to be US$273.6bn in 2012. Average annual GDP growth of 3.3% is predicted by BMI for the period through to 2016. With the population expected to increase from 5.3mn to 5.4mn over the forecast period, GDP per capita is expected to rise from US$52,051 in 2012 to US$73,998 by 2016.
Singapore Department of Statistics' figures show that household income from work in 2010 rose above pre-recession levels. Among resident households, median monthly income from work increased by 3.1% from SGD4,850 (US$3,804) in 2009 to SGD5,000 (US$3,921) in 2010; in real terms, the increase was 0.4%.
Tourists contribute an estimated 15% to overall retail sales in Singapore. Visitor arrivals declined by 4.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2009 to 9.7mn, with the Singapore Tourist Board stating that its previous target of 17mn visitor arrivals and SGD30bn (US$21bn) in tourism receipts in 2015 would be a challenge. However, arrivals soared during 2010. Final full-year data from the tourism board revealed that a total of 11.6mn tourists visited, an increase of 20.2% y-o-y.
Tourist arrivals to Singapore remained strong during 2011. Looking at data for January-October, a total of 10,925,045 tourists arrived in Singapore, an increase of 14.4% y-o-y, according to data from the STB. Against this backdrop, we are happy to maintain our estimated of a 12% increase in tourist arrivals for the year as a whole, with perhaps some slight risks to the upside when November and December arrivals are added to the final total.
In terms of retail sub-sectors, BMI forecasts the over-the-counter pharmaceutical sector to be worth US$0.16bn in 2012, and for sales to increase by more than 19% to US$0.18bn by 2016.
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