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Singapore consumers are digitally savvy

News, 20 February 2017

SINGAPORE: Brands looking for success in Singapore should recognise how important mobile devices have become to people's lives, according to a new survey that confirms Singapore's status as a digitally advanced nation.

Based on responses from 1,000 Singaporean internet-users, professional services firm EY asserted that the country has a "highly device-centric population".

The EY report, entitled Savvy Singapore: Decoding a digital nation, revealed that the majority of respondents (78%) check their device when they wake up and that a quarter (26%) spend more than five hours a day on their mobile.

These consumers use their phones and tablets everywhere, especially in public places (68%), the report said, and for everything from social networking (98%) to online research (81%) on a daily basis.

They are also open to new digital experiences, such as mobile payments (29%), music streaming over traditional music channels (86% versus 68%) and buying from more online retailers (55%).

Of particular note for brands and retailers, the survey found that more than half (54%) expect a high quality digital experience as an entry to purchase and they also judge a company by its online presence (43%).

Four-in-five (83%) say they discover new products and services through online research, around half (49%) conduct online research in-store, while 88% expect websites to be optimised for mobile viewing.

"The playing field for retailers is altered today. Digital experiences are not just about online shopping and e-commerce," said Jonathan Rees, the leader of EY's ASEAN digital practice.

"For many, the physical shopping journey is becoming a more digitally integrated one. For Singapore retailers, there is a significant opportunity in merging the brick-and-mortar store with digital experiences for a seamless, omni-channel service delivery," he added.

However, the thorny issue of privacy also featured in the survey results, with a full 81% of respondents expressing concern about how organisations collect, store and use data about them.

Three-quarters (75%) want the Singapore government to impress greater controls and transparency. In all, 43% want the government to take a more active role in monitoring online activity, though 20% disagree.

Commenting on the role of government, Rees said: "While the population holds a positive view of how they are being 'governed' in a digital age, there are still challenges to address and high expectations to be met around affordability, privacy, information usage, transaction security and digital content."

Data sourced from EY; additional content by Warc staff