Singapore’s tiny population might make it the smallest consumer market in the Asia-Pacific region, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in digital sophistication, according to the latest Adobe Singapore Market Analysis.
To reach Singaporean digital consumers, marketers need to understand their activity profile. With 4 million Internet users, Singapore has already achieved 81% Internet penetration, which naturally impacts growth expectations, now set at 2%, the Adobe study shows.
Of note, Singaporeans spend considerably less time on the Internet–4.7 hours a day on their desktops and 2.3 hours a day via their smartphones–than their peers in the region, the report reveals. While there are larger and faster growing markets in the region, Singapore is categorised by the World Bank as a “high-income economy,” and its citizens are renowned for their appetite for consumer goods and services, making it an attractive marketing target.
The trick for marketers is to catch these consumers during the relatively narrow yet valuable window they’re online.
Singapore also offers marketers a unique regional testing opportunity for campaigns, products, and services that might be finessed and then rolled out more broadly across Asia. Given these factors, it is perhaps not surprising that Singapore’s digital advertising spend on a per-capita basis is the highest in the region. According to the Adobe report, total investment will reach $US230 million ($A316 million) this year and is forecast to rise to $US253 million in 2016.
Preference For Search
However, the carve-up of that advertising budget for 2016 is instructive: While $US8 million is forecast to be spent on classified online advertising and $US87 million on display, a massive $US158 million is earmarked for investment in search.
So it is little surprise that when asked about their use of technology during the purchasing process, 60% of Singaporeans said they use search engines, versus 33% who said they visit a brand website and 26% who visit a retailer’s website.
Singaporeans use both computers and smartphones extensively for search–tablets less so, the study found. With the highest rate of smartphone penetration in the region, at 3.9 million users, 97% of respondents said they use their phones at home, 86% while they are on the go, and 78% in a store, according to the survey.
However, just 44% of smartphone users of Singapore’s consumers use their mobile devices to buy a product or service. Instead, almost all smartphone users–96%–reported they had used their devices to look for local information, 84% had taken action as a result, and 67% said they use smartphones to search for information each day.
Additionally, almost a third of all respondents said they had changed their minds about a purchase–either in store or online–based on information they discovered using a smartphone. Interestingly, 96% of smartphone users said they noticed advertisements on their devices, which suggests it is possible for marketers to assert influence during this mobile search phase.
The Seduction Of Social
Preferred smartphone platforms in Singapore are pretty evenly split between iOS (Apple) and Android, with a sprinkling of other brands. Similarly, there are two favoured social media platforms. For the more than 60% of Singapore’s population that reported being active on social media, WhatsApp has 46% of this share and Facebook has 39%. Skype, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn have 14% to 15% between them.
Importantly, more than half of Singapore’s digital consumers said they use insights gleaned from social media to guide purchasing decisions. With a population that is willing to spend, marketers cannot afford to ignore any of these social media platforms.