On 7th April the Garden-city Singapore, home to 5.8 Million fell silent as it entered into “Circuit Breaker” mode. Or effectively close to lockdown conditions.

Harrowing figures like a S$10 billion impact was cited by the economist Chua Hak Bin and Kit Wei Zheng reckons that the economy would contract 8.5 per cent.

However, it was actually not all gloom and doom for all businesses. Sheng Siong, an economical supermarket posted an jaw-dropping 49.9% rise in profits for Q1 – and had done right by their workers by paying an extra month of salary in Q1.

Everyone Wins?

We see a mammoth spike in search volume for all supermarkets starting from March and building up toward its peak in 7th April. The earlier January spike could be attributed to Lunar new year – an annual even as seen in the 2019 spike.

Analysis Via Search Volume

Detailed Search Trends Data offers insights to which of the local players – Sheng Shiong, Fairprice, Red Mart, Cold Storage & Giant stood the gain the most from the new market conditions.

For Fairprice we could see it has gained in Search Volume

However, controlled for the relative share of brand search volume we see a very different story.

Economical Options Analysis

As the world enters into potential recession, getting the best value for groceries becomes more important.

If we compare against the “Budget/Economical” players in the space such as Giant, Sheng Shiong (Below). We see that Sheng Siong is winning this battle very clearly at the expense of FairPrice while Giant holds steady.

Digital Readiness Analysis

In a pandemic/lockdown understandably consumers would prefer to hole up at home and order via online platforms. We compare the more digital-ready grocers that have nicer online e-commerce experience.

For this battle, we see that in the early phases of the lockdown, Red Mart ( a pure e-commerce play) search volume grew at the expense of Cold Storage and FairPrice. However, is now losing some ground as the lock-down is starting to lift.


Purely from the restricted view of Search trends as a proxy for interest. In a post-COVID world, Grocers need to fight two simultaneous battle-grounds. One for better prices and Two, in the conditions of peak lock-down, cater a good online experience on the digital front.