Singapore is easily one of the more expensive countries to live in and it doesn't help that practically everything is imported - even something as essential as water. So it is no surprise that there isn't a tech enthusiast who hasn't lamented of high prices for tech gadgets sold in Singapore. Ample evidence of that can be soaked up from casual group discussions with friends, colleagues and strangers who you might have eavesdropped upon, and even more of this can be witnessed from our HardwareZone fanpage followers commenting on various topics as well as our community members in the forum's myriad of discussions.
The news of Newegg joining the fray to ship to Singapore offered a glimmer of hope for better deals, especially in the realm of PC components which Newegg is known to specialize upon. Now that the option to shop and ship to Singapore is available, does it really offer the advantage that shoppers were hoping for?
To answer that question, we've scanned across key categories in Newegg Singapore and singled out random PC components that are both sold at local retail stores (mainly from Sim Lim Square) and offered on Newegg for purchase/shipping to Singapore. To find out the final price you'll pay for a product, you would have to add the item to your shopping cart, which would trigger selection finalization and calculate the final price you would be billed based on any taxes that are levied on the product and shipping charges. As such, the figures can be quite different from the costings seen in the initial listing pages. The overall findings surprised us.
|Product||Local Store Prices||Newegg Prices
(with taxes and shipping costs)
|Solid State Drives|
|Plextor M6S 128B SSD||S$106||S$186.19|
|Plextor M6e 128GB PCIe M.2 SSD||S$226||S$211.21|
|Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD||S$185||S$236.22|
|Hard Disk Drives|
|Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB HDD||S$148||S$197.19|
|WD Red 3TB HDD||S$169||S$215.95|
|HGST Deskstar NAS 4TB HDD||S$249||S$320.73|
|Seagate 6TB Desktop HDD||-||S$503.79|
|Intel Core i5-4690K||S$339||S$345.88|
|Intel Pentium G3258||S$100||S$126.90|
|Intel Core i7-4790K||S$479||S$503.98|
|G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3-1600 (CL9, 8GB Kit)||S$115||S$129.96|
|Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3-1600 (8GB Kit)||S$122||S$136.21|
|Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3-1866 (16GB Kit)||S$227||S$255.00|
|ASUS Z97-Deluxe (NFC & WLC)||S$619||S$626.82|
ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer
|Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force||S$469||S$329.14|
|Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5||S$289||S$231.70|
|MSI Z97 Guard Pro||S$229||S$212.93|
|MSI Z97 SLI Plus||S$259||S$236.71|
|ASUS Mars 760||S$912||S$911.11|
|ASUS GeForce GTX Titan Z 12GB GDDR5||S$4,699||S$4,066.22|
|MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB GDDR5||S$279||S$261.85|
|PowerColor PCS+ Radeon R9-290X OC||S$818||S$773.41|
|Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Dual-X OC||S$429||S$411.36|
* Prices are accurate at the time of investigation. Note that we've only highlighted offers that are notably cheaper or offer better value. *
Very often, we see discussions where people are trying hard to figure out why the local prices vary quite a bit from the overseas online stores like Amazon and Newegg. It's not as straightforward as slapping on a suitable exchange rate and then expecting that to be the final retail price.
Simply put, while the overseas stores mainly serve their local home market, which is usually the US or UK that have a pretty large user base, the situation in Singapore is quite different. Our local user base is comparatively puny, there are overseas shipping costs to factor in and then there's two levels of price mark-ups where distributors sell their wares to retailers, who then sell it to the consumer. This is not yet factoring in the infrastructure, logistics and support systems that work in the background to facilitate all of this. You might argue that you don't mind forgoing after-sales service and warranty for a cheaper prices, but considering the several other attributes that contribute a product's price 'premium', eradicating that may not bring down the price point a whole lot.
With Newegg now shipping some of its stocks direct to Singapore, we can now seize the rare opportunity to make a fair judgement call if the local retailers have been overpricing their tech gadgets. From the random set of popular PC hardware that we've compared between local Sim Lim Square shops and from Newegg, it seems that local shops have a slight edge.
While the prices seemed somewhat favorable on the listing pages of the Newegg Singapore store, once you've selected the item for checkout, that's when you get to see the final price you would be billed. It seems that the culprit that leveled the playing field is the shipping charges. For more expensive goods, you're also levied with extra taxes which further drive up the cost. Once these charges are factored in, the offers from local Sim Lim Square shops vary from being far cheaper to being equally competitive.
There are a group of products that seem cheaper on Newegg, such as some motherboards and graphics cards but their merits are debatable because of their small price advantage. Take for example, the Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Dual-X OC that lists online for about S$411 after shipping and taxes, but the local price is about S$429. The savings of about S$20 is just under 5% in price difference, but you lose out on local warranty, support, and you've to wait patiently for your goods after purchase. On a non-critical note but still worth mentioning is the level of retail therapy and satisfaction that differs from purchasing online as opposed to a physical store where you get to hold and even un-box your gadget immediately after purchase.
That's not to say Newegg doesn't have any good offers; it's just that the gems are harder to come by and you need to put in more effort. Take for example the workstation/enthusiast class ASUS GeForce GTX Titan Z 12GB VRAM monster graphics card which has a local price of S$4,699, but if you ship it from Newegg, it's more than S$600 cheaper. While the raw savings sounds dramatic, some might reconsider because there's no local warranty; for a S$4,000+ card, you might want to consider topping up a bit more for some peace of mind.
So besides price, here are the other variables you get to experience with a local tech store purchase; in essence the advantages:-
So then, what's good about overseas e-stores like Newegg?
Based on what we've found and discussed above, it's clear that in many scenarios, you are better off purchasing the relevant goods at your favorite local store - better overall price points, immediate usability, and peace of mind are some of the aspects that you immediately stand to benefit. While many had hoped for Newegg Singapore to create a big stir in the local scene, discerning enthusiasts have noticed that the savings gained are minimal for the most part just like what we've deduced. So unless you don't have time to personally shop for what you need and you're not in a hurry to obtain it, there's not a whole lot going for Newegg Singapore's e-store.
Furthermore, we noticed that not all PC hardware gear are available for purchase on the local Newegg store. For example, you won't find PSUs or casings stocked and for SSDs, it's strangely missing a number of big name brands like Crucial, Intel, SanDisk and Samsung. So if you are planning on building a whole new system, this can be a little frustrating if you're trying to juggle between buying some parts locally and some from overseas.Given the general advantage and price points for the local stores, you might want to consider building the whole system from Sim Lim Square shops or even just one of the shops to further streamline your time and management efforts.
Perhaps the category of PC hardware made available on Newegg Singapore will improve over time (though we highly doubt bulky items like casings and PSUs would be viable because of their steeper shipping charges). However in selective areas, the coming of Newegg has meant that enthusiasts get to pick from a wider variety of gear such as brands like EVGA, Mushkin and more, along with more hardware variations and exotic options. So if you fancy an option that's not available locally, there's a high chance that Newegg might have it. For example, we recently reviewed an ASRock Z97 Anniversary motherboard which isn't available locally, but Newegg Singapore does have it available for purchase. As Singapore has a small target market, the distributors would have to focus on options that would have a higher chance of garnering good sales.
For those who can spare the time and effort, you now have another avenue to check on special offers to maximize your hard earned cash - Newegg does occasionally have some good deals, but as with any online purchase, you lose out on some of the perks from shopping in a physical store.
Having said that, we had a quick chat with Dennis Yap, Business Development Manager of well known local tech distributor Ban Leong Technologies Limited, to get his thoughts of the new challenger:-
"We welcome Newegg to have an online presence in Singapore as this helps dispel the myth about high local IT prices, which is not true after all. This will then encourage retailers to provide better services to end-users to keep them coming back to patronize their shops. With higher standards of service, we hope Sim Lim Square can be a more pleasant place to shop".
With Newegg not really shining (yet), are the local tech stores really victorious? Unfortunately, they're not really out of the woods.
Amazon has a much larger inventory of electronics and tech gadgets, plus they carry more aggressive offers occasionally. Some of them may not be eligible for shipping to Singapore, but if you're willing to do your homework, you can use a forwarding service to get goods delivered to you. Of course this would mean juggling with shipping costs from another vendor in addition to the price of the goods offered on Amazon and then comparing this with local store offers to see what's worth your time.
Meanwhile, let's hope that the local tech retail scene and after-sales service continue to improve so that end-users will reciprocate to carry on supporting our local vendors and distributors.