Marketing

Sophisticated but Price-Conscious: Buying Behavior in Singapore

This article is a part of our series of articles about purchasing behaviours in Southeast Asian countries. Here, we dive into common preferences of Singaporeans and what drives their purchasing behaviour.

Singapore is known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle and diverse consumer behaviours. As for the demographics, Singapore’s society includes four main ethnic groups: Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Others (people of mixed European and Asian ancestry). Singapore is also one of the most religiously-diverse societies in the world. The average monthly household income per household member in 2022 is around 3300 USD, while in the nearest neighbouring country, Malaysia it is approximately 831 USD. This makes Singaporeans the wealthiest consumers in Southeast Asia!

The average monthly household income in Singapore is approximately 3300 USD

Source: Statista 2023

1. Online Shopping

Similar to Malaysia and many other countries, online shopping has become increasingly popular in Singapore. Singaporeans are the fastest adopters of mobile shopping in the world even though the country’s e-commerce industry is relatively new. 83% of online consumers in Singapore shop via mobile phones and it is clearly the preferred choice. Smartphones have become portable shopping malls for Singaporeans, therefore mobile optimisation should become a priority for business. 

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83% of online consumers in Singapore shop via mobile phones.

If you are already selling online, you may find it useful to read about how to overcome the main challenge of marketers: 10 Ways to Generate Qualified Leads in 2023.

2. Health and Wellness

A person in Singapore has a life expectancy of 83 years which places Singapore on the list of the countries with the highest life expectancy in the world. It also has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world (just 2nd place after Slovenia in 2021) as the healthcare system in Singapore also provides a high standard of services. With the country’s long life expectancy and high living standards, Singaporeans place a strong emphasis on health and wellness which is reflected in their consumer behaviour. For example, they are willing to pay a premium for healthy food options, organic products, and fitness-related products and services. Therefore, emphasising the health benefits of your product or service will be the right way to attract attention.

3. Food Culture

Singaporeans are passionate about food and often go to great lengths to discover new flavours and cuisines. They are willing to wait in long queues for popular food establishments and are always on the lookout for new and unique dining experiences. Surveys have shown that as little as 22% of Singaporeans cook at home daily. Cooking at home is usually dedicated to special occasions or celebrations. Part of the reason home cooking is not as popular is that healthy and nutritious food options are easy to find and dining out is affordable for most people. This specific preference may be important especially if your business operates in the food and beverages industry. It is also important to recognise Singaporean food culture as it indirectly reflects a major part of lifestyle in this country.

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22% of Singaporeans cook at home daily

4. Value for Money

According to the International Holiday Shopping Report conducted by Wirecard, Singaporeans are the most price-conscious in the world, where price was the most important thing when shopping online (63%), and when buying in-store (67%). Shopping behaviour of Singaporeans focused on looking for value-for-money deals and comparing prices across multiple stores before making a purchase. This is where brand loyalty loses its priority as Singaporeans are willing to switch brands to get the best deals.
Keeping that in mind, you may consider conducting regular competitor monitoring and designing attractive discount campaigns.

In our blog post dedicated to holiday email marketing we cover the topic of promotional email campaigns, within the blog, you will discover recommendations on creating the best campaign deals for your leads.

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(63%) price cautious when shopping online

(67%) price cautious when shopping in-store

5. Eco-Friendly Products

With an increasing awareness of environmental issues, Singaporeans are also becoming more conscious of their environmental impact. They are more likely to purchase eco-friendly products, such as reusable bags, sustainable household items, or locally produced food. According to the research published in 2022, acknowledging sustainability of the product made Singaporeans increase their willingness to pay level (the price they agree to spend on products).
Considering the attention of Singaporeans to sustainability, businesses should emphasise it in their products with an eco-friendly approach in business.

Conclusion

Being overall wealthy buyers surrounded by diverse cultural environments and a variety of choices, Singaporeans not only care about today’s needs but often consider their future well-being whilst worrying about contributing to the environment as well. Singaporean consumers exhibit a unique set of characteristics that businesses must take into account when developing their marketing strategies. By understanding these buying habits and tailoring their approaches accordingly, companies can build stronger relationships with their customers and drive business growth in the dynamic Singaporean market. Compare customer behaviour of Singaporeans with Malaysian customers reading our next blog post.

What's next for you?

Recognising the specific buying behaviour of your customers and listening to their motivations is a fundamental aspect of creating a successful marketing strategy.


As covered in this article, online shopping is a global trend, which further amplifies the importance of optimising your online assets to lead potential customers to purchase. Read our guide on creating effective landing pages to implement the best practices for your next online campaign.

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