Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why the products here are more expensive?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has recently did a study on consumer products price sold here and overseas. It is of no surprise that for some goods, it is pricier in Singapore than other countries. The study found that two-thirds of the 647 items sampled from the three brands are priced here above the median, but Singapore is the most expensive city for only 6 per cent of these. About a quarter of the products here are priced below the median. The other ten cities in the survey are Paris, London, Shanghai, New York, Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Sydney and Tokyo.

Why are products here sold more expensive than other countries? There are only 2 factors affecting the retail price. Manpower and rental costs.

For manpower, there are ways to control the costs either through productivity or optimising of processes. However for rental costs, there is no way that it can be controlled by the owner. Singapore is only that big and as everyone knows, in retail industry, location is everything and it drives sales.

There is a need to moderate the retail location costs and the only way I can think of is for the government to step in, similar to JTC, to rent out retail places and price it reasonably. Only then can prices be more consistent. This will drive more purchases from locals or tourists, and it will also encourage more people to start up new businesses.

Other than that, I have no idea on how to moderate the retail costs. Do you?

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