Amazon Singapore, if you don’t approach it the right way, can be a frustrating experience to say the least. It’s not clear which items Amazon is shipping to Singapore and which they aren’t, and how much shipping will cost if Amazon does ship (or is my order eligible for the renowned Amazon free shipping?).
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve tested all of the prevailing techniques and developed a process that makes shopping on Amazon in Singapore much, much easier. And you’re going to love how easy it is to do it.
Do you have four minutes to spare? If so, log in to Amazon.com and let’s get started.
FIRST: The 2-Step, One-Time Amazon Singapore Setup Process
STEP 1: Bookmark your new Amazon Singapore Homepage
Normally when you go to Amazon.com, Amazon assumes you are within the United States. And that’s a problem, because for those of us in Singapore, we’re constantly seeing error messages when we reach the checkout page.
So instead of going to the Amazon USA page, it’s important that you start all of your Amazon journeys on the Amazon International page, which you can think of as the Amazon Singapore homepage. Amazon makes it pretty tough to navigate here on your own, so just bookmark this page and start all of your Amazon searches from there moving forward. Using this page alone will make all of your searches much, much more relevant by eliminating items that can’t be shipped internationally.
STEP 2: Set up your 1-click Address
While searching from your new Amazon homepage will tell you what items are eligible for global shipping, there are still some items that can’t be delivered to Singapore. So to avoid those, you’ll need to tell Amazon that you only want to see items that are eligible for shipping to Singapore.
To do that, go to Manage Shipping Addresses under Your Account and ensure you have your Singapore address listed (if you don’t, add it as a New Address). Also, ensure that you have 1-click ordering turned on so that Amazon will check your address before showing you any item (Note: you never need to actually use the 1-click ordering functionality, but it’s still important to turn it on here). Then, once you have your Singapore address set up, add it as your default shipping address, including 1-Click and gifting, as shown below.
FOREVER AFTER: Your New Amazon Singapore Search Process
As a general rule, books, clothing and other mainstream media are almost always eligible to ship to Singapore. But on the flip side, a lot of electronics – particularly Apple products – are not. Use the method below to shave down your search time to the bare minimum.
Here’s an example. I’ve recently been thinking about getting a Fitbit to track my workouts and monitor my sleep, so let’s assume I’m going to buy one and have it shipped to Singapore. Here’s how I’d do it:
First, I go to my bookmarked Amazon Singapore homepage and type “Fitbit” in the search bar:
Next, I refine my search to only include those items that can be shipped to Singapore:
And voila! As you can see, the item not only ships to Singapore, but it’s also eligible for free international shipping!
Amazon Free Shipping to Singapore
In fact, our example item is not alone in getting free shipping – a lot of the items coming from Amazon USA are eligible for Amazon Singapore Free Shipping, assuming they meet these criteria:
- Every item is being searched on Amazon USA (amazon.com) and is a part of the AmazonGlobal Shipping Program. Assuming you start every search from your bookmark, these considerations are automatically taken care of.
- Total order size is more than $125 USD.
- All items in the order are sold by Amazon.com and not a third-party seller.
- Total weight is less than 20 pounds (9 kg).
- Each item in the order is smaller than 18” x 14” x 8” (46 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm).
- Note: e-documents, software downloads, digital music, Kindle devices and accessories, and gift cards are excluded from this free shipping offer.
That said, most of the things you’ll buy on Amazon (clothes, electronics, home and kitchen items, beauty products, etc.) meet this criteria easily, so free shipping with Amazon Singapore is actually pretty easy to get.
Import taxes/duties on items purchased
Any order that exceeds $400 SGD including shipping is subject to 7% GST tax imposed by the Singapore government. If you want to avoid this tax, break up your order into multiple orders less than $400 SGD. Keep in mind that the cost of shipping is included in this calculation, so if you buy a $300 SGD item that has an additional $200 SGD shipping charge ($500 SGD total), you will pay a 7% GST on that item of $35 SGD ($500 x 7%). This tax is collected by Amazon when you checkout, so you’ll never need to worry about paying any additional taxes or fees when your item is delivered.
Who actually ships my Amazon items?
In most cases, it will be SingPost who deliver your items, and they generally take 1-2 weeks to arrive. If you’re not home when SingPost attempts to deliver, they’ll leave you a delivery notice and you can pick up your item from the nearest post office location the next day. Here’s the official list of every SingPost location in Singapore.
How can I buy items that Amazon won’t ship to Singapore?
There are some items that Amazon won’t ship to Singapore, most notably their own Amazon Kindles and the new Amazon Tap and Amazon Echo Dot devices. Still, there is a workaround that you can use to get these items to you in Singapore, which is using a third-party package forwarder. Here’s how to do it.
STEP 1: Sign up with a Package Forwarder
Open an account with a package forwarder, who will accept your Amazon purchases at their warehouse in the United States and forward them on to you in Singapore. We recommend Borderlinx, since they ship with DHL and have fantastic customer reviews. Borderlinx will repack and consolidate your shipments free of charge, and they allow you to store your packages at their USA warehouse for up to 30 days (free as well) so you can take full advantage of that service and combine multiple Amazon packages into a single shipment. Their customer service is known to be excellent, too.
If you’d prefer to do your own research and assess other package forwarders as well, here’s a price comparison chart of the four major players on some common items you may be buying. As you can see, COMgateway has the cheapest price on 6 out of the 9 shipments, with Borderlinx being the cheapest on the other 3 and MyUS and Viabox consistently more expensive. If you want to get a Borderlinx price quote on a specific item, use their Singapore-specific Shipping Cost Calculator here.
However, the features comparison table below uncovers why Borderlinx’s prices are higher than COMgateway’s. COMgateway’s shipments are considerably slower (6-8 days vs. 2-6 with Borderlinx), they charge $10 to repack shipments while Borderlinx is free, and they don’t include taxes and duties in their prices, which can lead to some nasty surprises when your items are delivered. When it’s all said and done, most people prefer Borderlinx.
STEP 2: Purchase your item
After going through “Your New Amazon Singapore Search Process” above and verifying that you cannot ship the item you want from Amazon to Singapore (maybe it’s the iPhone 6), send it instead to the address that Borderlinx gives you by copying and pasting that address into Manage Shipping Addresses under Your Account. Then you’re ready to buy! Keep in mind that you can still use your Singapore address as the billing address on your credit card without any problems, but it’s still a good idea to double-check your shipping address to ensure it’s exactly the one Borderlinx gave you!
STEP 3: Forward your item to Singapore
Borderlinx will email you when your package arrives at their warehouse in the USA, so all you need to do is confirm the shipping speed on the forward (priority, economy, etc.) and whether you want additional insurance (it’s already being sent with DHL, so you probably won’t need it), and then pay Borderlinx for the shipment forwarding. For shipping something like a Kindle to Singapore, the charge will be $20 SGD or less. Remember that if your item plus the cost of shipping exceeds $400 SGD you’ll need to pay the 7% GST, so if that’s your situation, you may want to have Borderlinx split the shipment into two. Splitting the package into multiple shipments is free, but your overall shipping costs may jump when you send two packages instead of one, so we recommend talking with an expert at Borderlinx to see what is the cheapest option.
What can’t you ship to Singapore?
Between these two methods – searching for items that Amazon ships directly to Singapore, and using Borderlinx to forward packages that Amazon won’t ship directly to Singapore – you can get 95+% of the items you’d want into Singapore. But there are still some items you are prohibited from importing into Singapore, so those first two methods won’t work. Here’s the full list, though the prohibited items that are most likely to cause you a headache (assuming you aren’t a dealer of explosives/flammables or tobacco) are alcohol, gold/silver/diamonds/currency, chemicals such as paint thinners or bleaches, and any media banned by the Media Development Authority (MDA).
Also, since so many of you have been asking us for them, here's our full list of country-specific posts outlining how to ship anything from Amazon to any country in the world. Our 2-step method makes it as simple as humanly possible, and takes about 3 minutes total: Austria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.