Singapore shoppers stick with stores

13 August 2013

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are more likely to shop online and via mobile devices than the global average but physical stores continue to play an important role in the purchasing process, particularly for certain types of product, new research has shown.

Havas Worldwide surveyed 10,219 adults in 31 countries for its Prosumer Report entitled Digital and the New Consumer: Emerging Paths to Purchase, a summary of which is available on Warc. Millennials aged 18-34 made up 60% of respondents in Singapore, while prosumers – who indicate the mainstream's future thinking – accounted for 21%.

Some 94% of Singaporeans shopped online, compared to the global figure of 88%, while use of smartphones and tablets for this activity, at 48% and 26% respectively, was roughly double the global average.

But some 84% still preferred to visit a store to buy some products, the report found.

The primary reason cited, by 64% of respondents, was to be able to touch and try on products. Other factors included seeking advice from sales people, mentioned by 34%, and being able to take possession of products more quickly, referred to by 32%.

The sense of touch notwithstanding, 72% of Singaporeans expected that in future they would do more of their shopping online. And there was some frustration over brands that did not have an online presence, especially among the prosumer segment, where 60% expressed this emotion compared to 46% of the mainstream.

"We have discovered how shoppers in Singapore are by far the most digitally progressive in the world, while at the same time retailers seem too conservative, much to the frustration of their own customers," Naomi Troni, CEO at Havas Worldwide Southeast Asia, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

"There is a huge opportunity for brands to step up and offer what Singaporeans are demanding of them," she added.

More generally, Troni observed that the role of prosumers was important in gauging future developments.

"We believe that the only way to understand shopping in the digital age is to look at the figures that express real change in behaviour, and then zoom in on 'prosumers', a segment of people who have been proven to anticipate upcoming shifts in habits and beliefs," she said.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff