Singapore flag Singapore: Buying and Selling

Advertising and marketing in Singapore

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Singapore has a population of approximately 5.9 million inhabitants, growing at a rate of 0.92% (CIA, 2022). 74.2% of the inhabitants are Chinese, 13.7% are Malay and 8.9% are Indian (CIA, 2021). A household in Singapore count in average 3.15 people, 15.6% of the households count one person, 45.2% of the households count 2 or 3 people, 31.6% of the households 4 or 5 people and 7.5% of the households 6 people or more (Statistics Singapore, 2021). As Singapore is a city-state, 100% of the population is urban, and most of the population along the southern coast, with relatively dense population clusters found in the central areas. It is important to distinguish local consumers from foreign consumers visiting Singapore. Foreign consumers are huge contributors to Singapore as a regional hub.

There is 1 man per woman (CIA, 2022). The literacy rate is 99% among the male population and 96% among the female population (World Bank, 2020). The median age is 43.2 years (Data Reportal, 2022). 12.8% of the population is between 0 and 14 years old, 15% of the population is between 15 and 24 years old, 50.7% is between 25 and 54 years old, 10.6% of the population is between 55 and 64 years old and 10.9% is 65 years old or older (CIA, 2020). The total unemployment rate is at 2.7% (Statistics Singapore, Q2 2022). 0% of the active population works in agriculture, 16% works in industry and 84% is employed in services (World Bank, latest data available).

Education spending usually makes up about 20% of the annual national budget, which subsidises state education and government-assisted private education for Singaporean citizens and funds the Edusave program. Non-citizens bear significantly higher costs of educating their children in Singapore government and government-aided schools. The Compulsory Education Act codified compulsory education for children of primary school age (except those with disabilities), and made it a criminal offence for parents to fail to enroll their children in school and ensure their regular attendance. Exemptions are allowed for home schooling or full-time religious institutions, but parents must apply for exemption from the Ministry of Education and meet a minimum benchmark. The OECD consistently ranks the education system in Singapore as one of the best in the world. It is believed that this comes from the style of teaching that is implemented in Singapore. Teachers focus on making sure that each of their students thoroughly moves through the syllabus before moving on. By doing this, teachers in Singapore teach a much more narrow but deeper type of instruction.
Purchasing Power
GDP per capita (PPP) in Singapore was estimated at USD 116,486.5 in 2021 according to data from the World Bank. The Gini index is 44.1 in 2021 (Statistics Singapore). According to data from the Ministry of Manpower, the average monthly wage for full-time resident employees was SGD 4,680 in 2021, while there is no legal minimum salary. In 2021, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Singapore as the second most expensive city in the world, after several years in which the country ranked first.
Data from Statistics Singapore shows that median monthly household income from work grew by 1.5% in 2021 in real terms (4.2% in a five-year time), reaching SGD 9,520. Taking into account household size, median monthly household income from work per household member rose by 2.8% in real terms. In 2021, resident employed households in all income groups registered real growth in average household income from work per household member. Households in the 1st-90th percentile income groups registered real growth of 0.6 to 5.5%, while those in the top 10% income group saw a real income decline of 1.1%.
According to the latest study from the Ministry of Manpower, in 2020 Singapore’s adjusted gender pay gap figure was 4.3%. It has narrowed over time, from 8.8% in 2002. The analysis showed that the different representation of men and women in higher/lower paying occupations is a key driver of the gender wage gap, and its role has grown over time.
Consumer Behaviour
The consumer in Singapore enjoys a high standard of living and is a keen buyer of foreign products. Singaporeans are not only brand conscious, but are also very loyal and cautious towards exploring alternatives: they like new products, but they stay loyal to familiar brand names. They like to experiment with new products only after feeling assured about their quality and customer care service. Consumers keep in mind factors such as price, quality and service when making purchasing decisions. Pricing has to be very competitive, as bargaining is commonplace. Increased spending power and more preferences that are sophisticated are driving demand for more premium products. Online shopping has grown due to the considerable tech-savvy population looking for bargains (80% of millennials have shopped online in the past 12 months, out of which about 70% have done cross-border online shopping). High rates of homeownership have supported sustained demand for household-related goods and services, particularly from young first-time homebuyers.

A growing number of late-lifers is set to greatly influence the consumer landscape in the next years. Consumers are increasingly choosing to live healthier lifestyles, thus the growing demand for healthy foods and sustainable products. Singaporean, like other Asian consumers, are sensitive to environmental issues, though they are not willing to pay more or change their habits to support the cause. When the country’s major supermarket chains considered introducing a levy on plastic bags to ease the country’s waste problem, the idea received heated criticism from customers and the charge was abandoned. Consumers are also concerned by CSR, and a YouGov Omnibus research found that 88% of Singaporeans think businesses have a responsibility to do social good, and a majority (53%) of Singaporean consumers believe businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their supply chain is free from damaging practices.
Consumers Associations
Consumer Association of Singapore
Main Advertising Agencies
Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As)
List of regional advertising agencies

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Latest Update: November 2022

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