Breaking Down the Demographics of Singapore’s Online Shoppers

In an effort to offer insight into an expanding demographic, iPrice recently conducted research that studies different online consumer profiles in Singapore.

“Singaporean shoppers are known to be notoriously demanding,” said iPrice in a statement. “Becoming one of the fastest growing countries in the world comes at the cost of expecting nothing but the best.

Here are their findings. (Infographic featured below)


1. How old are you?

According to iPrice data, the majority of Singaporean online shoppers are aged 25 – 34, also known as millennials, coming in at 38%. Millennials will soon become the largest consumer group in Singapore. They generally make informed buying decisions based on online research, social media and peer recommendations.

The second largest group was 35 – 44 year olds, comprising 27% of online shoppers.

The third largest group is the youngest, 18 – 24 year olds (14%) followed by 45 – 54 year olds (13%). The 18 – 24 year old age group may not be the largest group of online shoppers due to their limited spending power as students compared to young working adults in the larger groups.


2. Why do you buy?

In finding out the motivation behind why people buy, iPrice found three interesting points:

A quarter of total shoppers buy online due to discounts and promotions. Online coupons and promo codes have played a huge role in getting consumers to shop and use online services.

Meanwhile, 19% of users shop online for personal gifts to themselves. This matches spending behavior near the end of the month after payday.

Also, 18% of shoppers buy online to fix an urgent problem they have. This can be purchasing finishing supplies, office tools, etc. Being a city-state, same day deliveries are more prominent due to shorter distances, making it more convenient for users to shop online.

3. When do you start researching?

When it comes to research behavior, there were three distinct groups that were highlighted:

  • The speedy ones
    A fifth of the users buy fast. Only a few minutes of research is needed. It is presumed that this group may be frequent purchasers with saved addresses and modes of payment and delivery set.
  • The meticulous ones
    16% research for weeks in advance, looking for the best deals. This may apply to those searching for weekly sales or promos. Features such as wishlists and email reminders whenever there are discounts suit consumers like these best.
  • The slow and steady ones
    9% research for months. This group of people is most likely new to the category for which they are trying to buy so they take the time to educate themselves on how it all works before jumping in. It may also apply for those waiting for seasonal sales and promos, such as airfares.

4. Which device do you use?

An overwhelming percentage of users (60%) prefer to shop on mobile. This matches the statistic that Singapore has the world’s highest mobile penetration rate at 149.8% (as of Dec 2016).

Desktop users were just over half the size of mobile users (34%). This may be due to consumers preferring to use their mobile devices to browse but to use desktop to make a purchase decision. Further, the act of double checking payment information is much easier on desktop.

A small percentage of users (6%) prefer tablets to shop online. Tablet sales have been declining in the past few years due to smartphones getting larger and the emergence of 5.5” screens and beyond being the norm.

5. Where do you find information to buy?

There are many places to surf the web to find information vital to the purchase decision. So, what do Singaporeans use?

Over half of the users surveyed (60%) reported using search engines such as Google as their primary source of information when making purchasing decisions. Hence, Search Engine Optimization is highly important for e-commerce companies to get noticed by online shoppers.

A third of the users reported to use brand websites themselves to look for they want. This applies mostly to companies where brand loyalty and awareness are more prevalent.

14% of users preferred to search for videos on platforms such as YouTube. With YouTube being the second largest search engine on the web, it won’t be long before video search results will be the norm. A recent study by Google Singapore and Kantar TNS showed that about 45% of Singaporean internet users prefer YouTube to TV. The study also boasts that 60% of users also find more content they want to watch on YouTube compared to TV.

Meanwhile, 12% of users get their information on social media. According to a joint report published by Hootsuite and We Are Social, it is reported that 3 out of 4 Singaporeans now use social media. The rise of influencer marketing also plays to this trend.

Another 12% go to price comparison sites to directly compare offers between merchants and online stores.

6. How do you use the internet to help make your decision?

While question 5 asks where do user get information, this question asks how they use the information to assist in their purchasing decisions.

Close to half (48%) use the internet to compare prices and features of products. This is a common behavior among shoppers as browsing through online stores for the best prices is more efficient than going to retail spaces door to door. Also, online prices are generally lower due to lower overhead costs compared to traditional retail spaces.

29% of shoppers use the internet to read reviews of other customers. This activity helps to answer their objections to their purchases, whereas 26% use the internet to look for undiscovered brands that may have similar offerings but better prices.

7. Which browser do you use?

Majority of Singaporean users use Chrome at 51%, while Safari users take up 37%. A meager 4% use Internet Explorer and only 3% use Firefox.

8. What do you do online after completing the purchase?

After Singaporean shoppers complete their purchases, 16% are reported to share their shopping experience on social platforms such as Facebook. This rings true with the previous fact on 3 out of 4 Singaporeans now use social media.

Meanwhile, 14% of users post reviews and ratings about the purchase and overall experience whereas 11% will look for help online on product usage or set-up.

The data was gathered from Google Consumer Barometer under Graph Builder for Singapore according to The Consumer Barometer Survey 2014/2015 and iPrice data for the period of July 2016 – July 2017, from over 3 million users.




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