SINGAPORE: Affluent consumers in Singapore are among the most enthusiastic early adopters of new technology in Asia, a study has revealed.

Synovate, the research firm, surveyed 1,679 adults in Singapore, with its panel representing the top 20% of the population.

It reported that 97% of respondents now regularly use the internet, measured against 51% in 1997. For their wealthy peers in Asia, these totals stood at 82% and 30% respectively.

At present, 89% of contributors from Singapore own a mobile phone, an improvement on 40% in 1997.

Smartphone penetration within the same demographic has reached 55%, more than doubling the figure of 23% recorded last year, and well ahead of the regional norm.

Ownership of less advanced mobile devices has also declined from 91% to 49% in this period, suggesting outdated handsets are being rapidly discarded.

"Mobile phones that are not 'smart' enough are quickly being replaced," Steve Garton, Synovate's managing director, media, said. "Smartphones have become the 'must-have' for Singaporean elites."

Equally, 83% of Singapore's well-off shoppers possess a laptop or notebook, ahead of 56% across Asia as a whole. Confirming this trend, 77% of Singapore's interviewees own a plasma or LCD television, a regional peak.

According to Synovate, 22% of participants in Singapore stated they are "often one of the first people to buy a new product or gadget", rising from 12% last year.

Exactly 66% of the same audience also liked treating themselves to "something special" even if it was expensive, versus 55% in 2010.

However, this group also displayed a greater interest regarding sustainability issues, with 81% agreeing brand owners should be active in the CSR field, a lift on 74% in 2010.

Elsewhere, 71% of the sample thought it was worth paying a premium to ensure they were purchasing high-quality goods, up from 57% last year.

Data sourced from Synovate; additional content by Warc staff