While many businesses in Singapore are struggling to cope with Covid-19 restrictions, not all are seeing a downturn. In fact, some businesses are seeing not just a rise, but a boom in business. We’ve all heard about the rise in home bakers who’ve all been pretty successful during Circuit Breaker, but they’re not the only ones benefiting from this current new normal. People are dining out in droves. Pet stores are popping up. Bicycles are becoming a hot commodity.
Dining with a vengeance
Head to more expensive restaurants in town, and you’ll find that not only are they packed, a reservation in advance – sometimes up to a week – is needed to secure a seat.
We usually only frequent these restaurants for special occasions, but with post-Circuit Breaker cabin fever and the fact that travel outside the country is severely restricted, people are choosing to spend their money on food instead. The other reason these restaurants are fully booked could be attributed to the new safe-distancing rules – there may be less seats available.
To make up for the loss of income during the Circuit Breaker, some restaurants are implementing time limits for diners – most diners are given about 2 hours to finish their meal. Some high-end restaurants have 2 time sessions available for booking, usually at 6pm and 8pm. Perhaps the fact that all restaurants close at 10.30pm could be a reason for the crowd.
The surge in patrons is also fueling more new restaurants to open. While 215 restaurants closed up shop in September, there were 366 new outlets open in September, up from 336 in August.
While these new restaurants are tapping into a trend of travel-starved diners, the situation may change once more borders open up.
Another boom seems to be in the pet sector. The Circuit Breaker saw record numbers of pet adoptions – for many people, the companionship of a pet makes a lockdown more bearable, plus walking the dog is great exercise (and an excuse to get out of the house). To cater to this rise of pet owners, more pet stores have opened up.
However, the type of pet-related shops aren’t just those that retail pet food and accessories – the biggest boom seems to be in pet ‘experiences’. In the East Coast area alone, more than 10 pet-related stores have opened up since a couple of months ago. These stores are either pet groomers, catteries, or doggy daycares.
Another boom in the pet industry? Sale of puppies and kittens. One cattery saw a 500% increase in enquiries for its kittens, with a waitlist of 200 families currently.
With travel restricted, many people have taken to explore the streets of Singapore on a bicycle. While some use bicycles for exercise, many are also using them to commute and avoid crowded public transport.
As such, bicycle retailers have seen a huge uptick in sales – some shops have run out of stock, and prices of popular brands have shot up by as much as 40%. Some luxury bikes even have a waitlist.
Even the secondhand market is booming. Brompton bicycles for instance, are going for as much as $5,000 to $8,000 apiece because new ones – which cost around $2,500 – are in short supply.
This rise in bicycle sales isn’t limited to just Singapore either; bicycle manufacturer Giant has a huge backlog of orders from around the world. In the middle of the year after Europe exited lockdown, lines were seen forming outside bicycle shops. Some people were told that bicycles would only be available in 2021.
With the rise in bicycle ownership comes a bigger demand for bicycle repairs. Bicycle repair shops and those who advertise repair services on platforms like Carousell are also in high demand, with business doubling during the middle of 2020.
While many of us can’t wait for the easing of restrictions and the opening of borders, some people are making the best out of the current new normal.