Online shopping has taken root in the Southeast Asian market, especially in Singapore, where more and more consumers rely on e-commerce platforms to purchase their daily needs. In 2019 alone, about 5 million people — or 85 percent of the city-state’s entire population — accessed the internet. It has the second-highest internet penetration in Southeast Asia, second only to Brunei. Among the 16 to 64 age groups, around three quarters are online shoppers.
That also makes Singapore a prime market for brands not just in the region but all over the globe. However, before entering the market, one must first get to know the incredibly unique and diverse consumers to know how you can earn their trust and loyalty.
What Do They Use to Shop?
Nowadays, more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet and take advantage of online services, including shopping. Although, in Singapore, consumers have their own preferences.
Most Singaporean adults do their shopping after work, but others try to sneak peeks at e-commerce platforms during the day. For those who window-shop during work hours, they use their smartphones. However, a 2018 survey revealed that consumers prefer the bigger screens of their laptops to shop.
That is why brands should optimize their website for mobile and desktop. That way, they can ensure that all consumers, whether they are shopping after work or sneakily making purchases during office hours, will be provided the rightful service.
How Do They Find the Products to Buy?
Singaporean consumers know what they want. One survey in 2017 found that 60 percent of online shoppers in Singapore would make Google searches for products. They also already have a product or brand in mind when they go only with the internet to purchase because they read reviews, assess features, and compare prices.
Brands should invest in pay-per-click ads (PPC), especially in search engines. It will allow them to target consumers who already intend to buy and/or look for options before pushing through with a purchase.
They also are social media natives. They use social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to get information about new products, see what their friends and acquaintances are saying about them, and get the latest updates from brands they love.
Brands should never ignore social media, especially not in Singapore, where 4.96 million use social media as data from January 2021. Those who want to capture the attention of Singaporean consumers need to boost their social media presence through paid advertising and/or organically growing their following by posting quality and compelling content.
How Old Are They?
The online shoppers of Singapore are young. Nearly half of all avid online shoppers across the nation are between the ages of 25 and 34 — these are people who grew up with the internet and, therefore, are more attuned to using it. They also are of working age and are earning their own incomes.
Meanwhile, 35 to 44 years old make up 22 percent of all Singaporean online shoppers. The youngest generation of consumers, those above the age of 18 but not older than 24 years old, make up 17 percent of online shoppers in Singapore. Those 45 and older are the least likely to shop online, making up only 15 percent of all online shoppers.
Why Do They Buy Online?
Singaporean online shoppers are bargain-lovers. One reason why they choose to shop online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores is discounts and promotions.
In Southeast Asia, there are several shopping holidays throughout the year to encourage sales, and most e-retailers participate. Lazada and Shopee, two of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the region, celebrate monthly shopping holidays represented by parallel digits adapted from the Chinese 11.11 (November 11, Single’s Day). They love to collect vouchers and promo codes to use on their next online shopping spree.
Many Singaporeans also shop to treat themselves. They work hard and, therefore, deserve to get pampered. So, they buy themselves a gift and have it delivered straight to their doorsteps or offices. This behavior is usually strongest after payday toward the end of the month.
Some of them do shop for necessities. They buy online to fix something immediately.
Singaporean consumers are different from their counterparts across Southeast Asia. The nation is a melting pot of cultures, mixing East with the West. Its population is also very technologically adept, able to navigate the digital landscape with ease. Getting to know Singaporean consumers and what they want to see from brands will be interesting.