Latest update on 7th April 2017
There is a growing trend of Singaporeans buying from Taobao to seemingly fulfill all their shopping needs. This can range from clothes, to home furnishings, to bicycles and even large-sized items like sofas!
However, what shoppers have sometimes found frustrating is that most Taobao vendors on Taobao (or other Chinese online shopping sites) do not offer direct shipping to Singapore. Or if they do, the shipping fees to bring your purchases to Singapore are horrendously expensive.
This is why more and more Singaporeans are turning to parcel forwarding agents to help them ship to Singapore. Some popular ones include Ezbuy (previously known as 65Daigou), Peeka, SGshop, Oops and so on.
If you didn’t already know, what can these parcel forwarding agents do for you?
Most Taobao vendors offer free or subsidized shipping within China. Ship your items to one of these agents’ warehouses in China, and the parcel forwarding agent will forward the shipment to you in Singapore.
But more importantly, these agents help you liaise with Taobao vendors in Mandarin to ask crucial questions such as the volumetric weight* vs. the actual weight of the item, packaging details, as well as other important info that newbie shoppers may not know to ask. It makes the Taobao shopping experience a whole lot easier and stress-free !
So who has the best rates? pingNshop has checked out the rates of the 5 most popular agents in Singapore and compared their rates for you.
So what does the table above mean? In general, the total sum you pay is made up of 3 components:
Total shipping costs = Agent fees + Shipping rates + GST (if applicable)
- Agent fees: x% of product value or total product value including shipping.
- All agents calculate shipping rates based on actual weight or volumetric weight, whichever is higher.
- Volumetric weight = refers to the size of your item.
- Volumetric weight in kilogrammes (kg) = Height x Width x Length in cm / 6,000
- Volume in cubic metres (CBM) = Height x Width x Length in cm / 1,000,000
- Sea freight: 1 CBM = approx. 1,000 kg
- Why do we recommend you using an agent? Agents help you liaise with vendors in Mandarin and ask them crucial questions such as packaging details, volumetric weight and so on – in order to help you get your items to Singapore as safely and affordably as possible. They also check your items when it reaches their China warehouse to make sure there are no defects before forwarding it to you in Singapore.
- Additional note: GST is charged at 7% of product value. If the total value of your package(s) is more than $400 SGD, you will be required by law to pay 7% GST) = payable to your agent during second payment (GST + shipping + agent fees)
So all the above can be rather bewildering. To help you get a better picture of who offers the cheapest shipping, we have chosen one small item (a ceiling light), and one big-sized item (a three-seater sofa) to give a snapshot comparison.
Here are the total shipping costs for a ceiling light and a sofa:
*All of the above freight forwarders calculate shipping price based on actual weight or volumetric weight, whichever is higher. Do note that for the ceiling light, we have assumed a volumetric weight of 4.95kg (because this was higher than its actual weight) to compute shipping prices.
*For the 3-seater sofa, we take volumetric weight, 300 kg or 1.8 cbm, to compute shipping prices.
Verdict (based on the most cost-saving option):
For lightweight items below 1cbm such as apparels, accessories and home décor,
- Sea shipping: ezbuy and Peeka, offer the cheapest prices. Choose this method only if you are willing to wait approximately 1.5 weeks for your parcel(s) to arrive (from the time your item reaches the China warehouse).
- Economy air and express air: ezbuy offers the best rates, followed by Oops for Economy Air and SGShop for Express.
For heavy items adding up to 1cbm and above such as sofas, tables and appliances,
- Sea shipping: SGshop offers the best shipping price since shipment is calculated based on cbm, followed by Oops and Peeka.
- Economy air and express air: Air shipment is generally very expensive since the items are significantly big and bulky. Thus, it is advised that you choose sea shipping instead. However, if you do not mind paying the additional amount for fast shipment, you may consider using ezbuy.
After our comparison, ezbuy offers the best of both worlds as they are the cheapest air and sea shipment for lightweight items, as well as reasonable prices for heavy items (although ezbuy is not the cheapest). They also have many satisfied customer reviews who praise its efficient services. You may view these customer reviews here>>.
In addition, do keep a look out for ezbuy’s promotional periods, usually lasting 3-6 days every 2 months or so. You can save more on shipping fees during the promotional periods when they waive agent fees completely!
An ezbuy app, available for both Apple>> and Android>> users, is very much user-friendly for customers to browse through products from China, Taiwan or USA. After which, customers can track their parcels effortlessly as it provides a step-by-step tracking method that can be found both on the website and app. Ezbuy are also active on their Facebook page>> and also interact with their customers there.
For heavy items, we recommend Oops because it provides the best sea shipment price since parcels are measured using cbm. We’ve actually compared Oops with Hongxun Logistics, another popular parcel forwarding agent which goes by cbm.
However, since Hongxun Logistics is more expensive than Oops, and is said to have a more complicated process for ordering, in addition to being conducted in Mandarin, hence we’ve not included Hongxun Logistics in our comparison chart.
Please refer to the first table for the new and revised shipping rates for Oops as it is still not updated on the website.
Oops does not engage in promotional events often. They simply provide customers with the best sea shipment rates especially when buying bulky and heavy items such as furnitures. Oops also keeps their Facebook page>> active by updating on various shipment delays and interacting with customers online. With generally satisfied customer reviews, Oops seems to be a trusted agent for shipping your parcels!
Cover picture: http://mymailforwarder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/concierge-shopping-America.jpg
Ceiling lamp: http://world.tmall.com/item/43165489651.htm?spm=a312a.7700718.1998099587.4.KAHrAB&id=43165489651&bi_from=tm_comb&skuId=91693680650
3-seater sofa: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a312a.7728559.2014082902.1.lS57ZB&id=42159072177&_lang=zh_CN:TB-GBK&thwarea=hw&toSite=main