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  • Writer's pictureJefrey Gomez

Consumer Behaviour in Singapore during COVID-19 & What Lies Ahead

As people across the world continue to adjust their lives around the COVID-19 situation, Singaporeans are also bracing up for the future in the wake of the virus. Despite the many uncertainties around them consumers in Singapore have been giving some indication of how they wish to take things forward from here. These signals would be instrumental in driving some of the most successful business strategies in 2020 and beyond.

To get a clear picture of consumer behaviour and shopping trends in Singapore in the wake of COVID-19, Brandwatch surveyed more than 800 consumers via their mobile devices. These surveys provided valuable insights on what activities Singaporeans are most likely to indulge in after the outbreak is contained, how they have adapted to online shopping, their new priorities in the aftermath of the virus, etc.

Here are the major highlights of the survey.

What percentage of people in Singapore who planned to do these activities in 2020 still plan to do so after the outbreak?

1. Leisure & Travel

Travel and tourism were one of the most badly hit industries during the outbreak. Like everywhere else, people in Singapore also had to cancel their travel plans. The Brandwatch survey asked people about their travel plans and whether they intended to buy tickets for festivals in 2020.

39% of the respondents said that they planned to go on a vacation before the outbreak. 66% of those respondents still wish to go ahead with their plans. Also, of the 11% of the people who wanted to book tickets for festivals and gigs in 2020 before the pandemic, only half of them still plan upon doing so.

2. Home Improvement

The lockdown has also led many Singaporeans to explore different activities like gardening and home improvement. They are now spending much more time online looking for content related to gardening and home decor.

13% of the respondents said that they were planning to buy furniture before the COVID outbreak. 11% wanted to make large scale improvements to their homes. 10% of the respondents also wanted to purchase a new house.

Despite the COVID-19 challenges, a majority of these people intend to go ahead with their plans. 57% of people still want to buy new furniture in 2020. 55% of the respondents still want to do major improvements to their homes while 66% of the people still want a new apartment in 2020.

3. Clothes & Shoes

71% of the respondents who had planned upon buying clothes and shoes in 2020 before the outbreak still wanted to do so. This was somewhat predictable as after the long time that they spent in the lockdown, consumers are likely to find retail therapy quite tempting.

This finding was consistent with one of the previous surveys that Brandwatch had carried out in May to find the most popular hobbies in APAC consumers during the lockdown, where online shopping was mentioned the highest number of times.

4. Jobs

Of the 17% of the respondents who said that they had been planning to switch their jobs before COVID-19, 69% still planned to change their job in 2020. Given the tumultuous times, this high percentage of people who still want to switch their jobs is quite remarkable.

Also, with the work-from-home trend gaining steam during the COVID-19 outbreak, employers may start adapting to remote working policies.

5. Finances & Holidays

Loss of jobs and a reduction in salaries during the outbreak has contributed to the heightened financial worries among people across the world. People are more cautious about how they spend their money and are seeking advice online on how to save more money than they do, which indicates a large-scale effort to create a safety net.

What percentage of people in Singapore who planned to do these activities in 2020 still plan to do so after the outbreak?

82% of the people surveyed by Brandwatch who were trying to save more money during the pandemic said that they would continue doing so even after the situation improves.

However, the expenditure on vacations and gifts is going to be hit significantly with 56% of the respondents saying that they will be spending less on holidays. 34% of the Singaporeans said that they will spend almost the same amount as before. Only 10% of the surveyed people said that they will spend more than the previous year.

6. Online Shopping

When asked whether they had bought anything online which they normally wouldn’t, 32% of the respondents said that they had bought excess groceries. Clothes, toiletries, and furniture were other things that were bought in excess.

Have you bought any of the following online since the COVID-19 outbreak that you usually wouldn’t?

In almost every category there were more than 60% of the respondents who said that they would continue buying things online even after the virus is contained. This number was particularly high for people who bought clothes online, with 68% saying that they would continue doing so even after the pandemic, which is encouraging for online fashion retailers.

Will you continue to shop online for these items after the outbreak is contained?

However, 29% of these respondents also said that they had trouble shopping online with product delivery being their biggest area of grievance. Also, people over the age of 55 were worried about the security of online shopping and its complicated process.

Key Takeaways

Given the new safety measures that are being put in place by most retailers and precautions being taken by most people themselves, it isn’t surprising to see online shopping picking up pace. With these insights, businesses can ensure that the new habits and needs of consumers are well-served. Also, these trends are likely to set the course for successful businesses.

To delve deeper into the findings of this survey, find the full report here.


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