Amazon to Singapore Buying & Shipping Guide

(May 2014 update: Shipping charges are checked to be up to date.)

This guide is written for Singaporeans or those living in Singapore.

It should help you decide whether to buy from Amazon. I have bought items from all Amazon branches except from China, Italy and Spain branches.

For buying digital content like mp3, ebooks, etc, read Guide on buying Amazon Digital Content Outside of US.

1. Introduction

Why buy from Amazon?

1. Even after including shipping cost, some items are still cheaper than local prices. This is particularly true for books and video discs from Amazon US.

2. Their variety is huge.

3. Their customer service is excellent. They have great return and refund policies. You'll have to pay for return shipping charges though.

4. There is no GST if your package (including shipping cost) is under SGD$400. If you want to get SGD$600 worth of stuff, you should split them up into two orders, each under $400.

When is it not suitable to buy from Amazon?

1. If you need the item urgently. Shipping time varies. Shipment may get delayed at customs, post offices, etc.

2. They usually don't ship electronics to Singapore. Visit Amazon Global page to see products that ship globally.

To buy electronics, you can use services like vPost, Comgateway or Borderlinx (Citibank card users only) who act as third party forwarder to ship your items to Singapore. Amazon.com surface shipping is free for certain dollar amount so you just have to pay for the forwarder's shipping charges. I once paid $25 to vPost to ship a software package, the size of 3 CD cases, which is very expensive. For Comgateway, it's US$23 to ship a Kindle and case.

3. Generally, the more expensive the item is in Singapore, the more you'll save from Amazon. When price differences are small, it's not worth the effort and you should support local retailers instead.

4. Sometimes, you can find books cheaper on Book Depository. Generally speaking, lower-priced books are cheaper there.

I shop on Book Depository often as well.

2. The different Amazon branches

Let's talk specifically about each Amazon branch. The shipping charges listed below are all meant for shipments to Singapore.

(box) is a per shipment charge, (item) is per item. There can be many items in one box shipment.

Sometimes Amazon might ship items in separate shipments (at their cost). It happens when your items come from different fulfillment centres.

Also listed are the sales tax, which is only applicable to their local residence. You can deduct the sales tax from the listed price. For example, for a $100 Euro book from Amazon Germany (sales tax of 7%), you'll only need to pay $93 Euro. Shipping charges still remain the same.

Amazon.com (source)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • AmazonGlobal Saver 17-31 days (only to Singapore and India)
    Free for purchases above US$125 in value, typically for items such as books, discs, and selected items
  • Standard Shipping 17-31 days
    Books - US4.99 (box) - US4.99 (item)
    Disc - US4.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)
  • Expedited Shipping 12-19 days
    Books - US13.99 (box) - US5.99 (item)
    Disc - US13.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)
  • Priority Shipping 3-7 days
    Books - US29.99 (box) - US5.99 (item)
    Disc - US29.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)

I've had rare occasions where boxes take two months to arrive.

Generally, the more expensive a book is in Singapore, the cheaper it is in USA. It depends on currency rates of course.

Bulky or heavy items have additional surcharges. Anything more than 5 pounds (2.26kg) is considered heavy. The weight surcharges are as follows:

  • Standard Shipping - US1.99/lb
  • Expedited Shipping - US1.99/lb
  • Priority Shipping - US2.49/lb

So if you are shipping a 5lb (2.2kg) item, that would translate to an extra US$9.95.

Amazon.co.uk (source) - (Sales tax: 16% for electronics)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard airmail 7 - 10 days
    Books - UK5.49 (box) - UK2.99 (item)
    Disc - UK2.09 (box) - UK1.49 (item)
  • Expedited Shipping 5 - 10 days
    UK10.99 (box) + UK4.99 per kg
  • Priority Express 2-4 days
    UK19.99 (box) plus
    Disc - UK1.99
    Books - UK2.49
    Others - UK4.99 per kg

Sometimes books here are cheaper than on Amazon US. This price difference is due to exchange rates and often the book distribution agreement. Their per item shipping charge is lower.

The delivery is about 10-14 days, from my experience with Standard airmail.

Amazon.ca (source)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard 8-12 weeks
    Books - CA9.99 (box) - CA5.49 (item)
    Disc - CA4.99 (box) - CA2.49 (item)
  • Expedited 2-4 weeks
    Books - CA15.99 (box) - CA8.99 (item)
    Disc - CA9.99 (box) - CA3.99 (item)
  • Priority 3-7 days
    Books - CA19.99 (box) - CA9.99 (item)
    Disc - CA19.99 (box) - CA4.99 (item)

If you're not going for Priority shipping, the shipping time is very long. The per-item shipping charge is quite high.

Amazon.de (source) - (Sales tax: 7% for normal products, 16% for electronics)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard 7-9 days
    Euro9 (box) and Euro4 per KG
  • Express 2-12 days
    Euro28 (box) and Euro8 per KG

Items sold in Europe are relatively pricey. You might be able to find some electronics that can ship direct from Amazon Germany.

The delivery is about 2 weeks, from my experience with Standard shipping.

Amazon.fr (source) - (Sales tax: 5.5% for normal products, 16% for electronics)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard 12-15 days
    Euro12 (box) - Euro1.50 (item)
  • Priority 7-14 days
    Euro14 (box) - Euro6 per KG
  • Lightning 2-4 days
    Euro28 (box) - Euro9 per KG

Again, items in Europe are pricey. In addition to box charges, standard shipping has per-item charges, and express shipping has per-KG charges.

Amazon.it (source)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard 12-15 days
    Euro14 (box) + Euro5 per KG
  • Express 2-6 days
    Euro25 (box) + Euro5 per KG

Items from Amazon Italy are also quite pricey. I've not bought here so I can't comment on the shipping time.

Amazon.es (source)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • Standard 12-15 days
    Euro14 (box) + Euro4 per KG
  • Express 2-6 days
    Euro20 (box) + Euro9 per KG

Items from Amazon Spain are quite pricey. I've not bought here so I can't comment on the shipping time. The standard and express shipping times are the same but at different charges.

Amazon.co.jp (source) - (Sales tax: 5%)

Shipping charges and delivery times:

  • International Express 2-5 business days
    Per shipment - 600 yen (box)
    Books - 400 yen (item)
    Discs - 300 yen (item)

The only shipping option is International Express. The per shipment charge is expensive, but per item charge is relatively cheap.

Shipping is very fast. I've the shipping date confirmation on a Friday and it was here next Monday.

In general, the Japanese books in Kino are 20-30% more expensive than Amazon Japan (with per item charge but no per box added). Buying from Kino means you don't have to pay the hefty per shipment charge. Again, if you're buying a few books, Kino's price doesn't look very good already.

Amazon third party merchants

If Amazon doesn't ship the item you want overseas, try the Amazon third party merchants. Merchants who can ship overseas will indicate on their page with "international shipping available". Each merchant has their own shipping rates and time. Generally, their shipping is more expensive than Amazon.

There's no consolidation orders for different items even if bought from the same merchant. E.g. If you buy a book and a DVD from a merchant, it will be shipped out in two boxes, and hence there will be two per-box charges.

3. Examples on calculating shipping charges

I shall use Amazon US shipping rates, the Standard Shipping, for these examples. Price of the items are not included.

For an order of 1 book:
US4.99 (box) + US4.99 (item)

2 books:
US4.99 (box) + (2 x US4.99) (item)

2 discs:
US4.99 (box) + (2 x US3.99) (item)

1 book, 1 disc:
US4.99 (box) + US4.99 (book) + US3.99 (disc)

The box charge, or per shipment charge, is always there.

By the way...

If you find this article helpful, consider making your purchase through any Amazon link on my blog. I get a little commission for those purchases, at no additional cost on your part. The other simple way to help is to hit the Facebook Like button to share this article with your friends.

Questions?

Ask them on my Google+ page.

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383 Comments

Hi this is really good

Hi this is really good information. But I realise not all sellers are willing to ship to singapore. Is this true? Or do I need to contact them personally?

I tried checking out a used

I tried checking out a used book costing less than US$2 online but it seems like I was asked to update on the quantity I want to order. There's international shipping on the sellers buit how come my order cannot be executed?

Any advice?

Thanks!

Hi there! This is a good

Hi there! This is a good guide! I got a question to ask u.

Buying direct from amazon and use their shipping services is cheaper or shipping thru Vpost is cheaper?

I'm planning to get 2 books that cost be about US$10

Thanx for ur help~

@Parka Thanks for ur

@Parka

Thanks for ur wonderful feedback! That's great! Book Depository UK is in pounds or USD? I have emailed them but so far no replies yet.

Well, Amazon offers 2nd hand books @ just $2. which is rather tempting. Not sure if its worth the shipping cost.

I'm looking @ The Double Goal Coach tat cost ($1.05 +$3.99shipping) & Have a little Faith tat cost $9.50.

Sorry for asking so much bcoz this is my 1st time purchasing books online.

Hi, from Singapore here. I

Hi, from Singapore here. I recently got a handwritten note stating that someone (no name, no signing off) tried to deliver my amazon package but no one was home. The note has my name and they even contacted me at my h/p number. They are asking me to contact them at a certain number for redelivery, different from the one that called me.

I feel suspicious as all my previous amazon deliveries have been through Singpost.Is this a new arrangement?

Is it safe to assume that the

Is it safe to assume that the total cost of any purchase (inclusive of shipping costs) must not exceed S$400 to avoid paying GST?

How about multiple shipments of say, S$300 each? Say if I order S$900 worth of items but split the goods into 3 shipments, but shipment is on the same day. Technically the cost is S$900, but technically, each package did not exceed S$400. In this case, can I avoid GST in this case?

Hi i hav this problem We're

Hi i hav this problem

We're sorry. This item can't be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order by changing its quantity to 0 and clicking the update button below

i m from singapore. so do i need to contact the seller to check whether he can ship to singapore?

there's this book "What every

there's this book "What every BODY is saying" i added all to the cart (i think 17books) but all cant shipped to singapore. i try amazon.com, amazon.com.uk also cant find 1 that can ship to sg. haiz...

Parka do u hav more detail guide?? dont really quite understand, dunno if i got do wrong step

Hi, are there alternative

Hi, are there alternative freight forwarder that are trustworthy enough to ship items from Amazon US to Sg (for items amazon doesn't ship to Sg)? My spouse nearly lost previous merchandise from Vpost, and there wasn't any party who wanted to take the responsibility. Amazon's side shown that the items were in Sg, but Vpost claimed they didn't receive.

Hi parka, I not quite

Hi parka,

I not quite understand the entire process of purchasing to delivery.

I've ordered a book from a amazon 3rd party seller. I have registered with vpost so the shipping address is vpost usa. I put the billing address as my home address. I'm using visa debit to pay for the purchase. Amazon has sent an order via email

Do I have to wait for the VAT invoice 1st, then email the invoice to vpost?
When I check out, is payment already processed by deducting from my debit card account?
Do they ship out the item to vpost usa after the payment has been processed or before?

Thks.

Parka, thks for the reply for

Parka, thks for the reply for 18 mar 2010

I did not phrase my question properly in my last post. This post ... i think so (after re-reading) which is why i still confused.

When u made a purchase physically with credit/debit card say in a shop, u slash the card and key in your pin.
In amazon, u only enter card no. Without the pin no info, how are they going to bill to my debit card account?

You mention they bill u when item is shipped. Shouldn't they bill u when u check out.
If the item is shipped to me then i dun pay for it, wouldn't that be fraud?
If what u say is the case, then I would get billed by the postman delivering the item at my doorstep with a portable credit card machine?

vpost state that I sent them the amazon invoice once i got it in my email. Then vpost will invoice me the shipping and purchase amt. Once I have paid, then vpost usa will deliver to singapore. If i dun pay, then the purchase get stuck at vpost usa pendingly. Hmm... am i 'm getting the point right???

Thank you so much. This is a

Thank you so much. This is a very useful tutorial. I've just bought 2 books from Amazon UK.
There is 1 question I want to ask, that is about purchasing books on Book Depository. Do you have any experience w their shipping? About how long the item will travel?

Hmm seems like the shipped it

Hmm seems like the shipped it in a single shipment. I have contacted Amazon and they allowed me to return it back to them. May I know which services I should use if I want to return it to them?

Singpost? DHL?

They said that such an option

They said that such an option isn't possible, and they do not have any record of my old shipping address. I have to ship the book back to them for a refund and they are willingly to pay for the shipping fees.

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