Racheal Lee
Aug 12, 2013

Physical stores still important for Singapore shoppers: Havas Worldwide's Report

SINGAPORE - Physical stores still play an important role in the purchasing process in Singapore, where 84 per cent of the people still prefer to buy certain products in person, according to the latest Havas Worldwide Prosumer Report “Digital and The New Consumer: Emerging Paths to Purchase”.

Physical stores still important for Singapore shoppers: Havas Worldwide's Report

The top reasons for this include the tangible benefits of touching and trying on the product (64 per cent), the study stated, followed by using a salesperson’s advice (34 per cent) and getting hold of items faster (32 per cent).

Together with research partner Market Probe International, Havas Worldwide surveyed 10,219 adults in 31 countries. Havas Worldwide made only the Singapore results and global averages for this report available to the media at this time.

Millennials, defined as respondents aged 18 to 34, account for 60 per cent of the total participants in Singapore. 'Prosumers', who indicate the mainstream’s future thinking, made up 21 per cent of the sample.

Naomi Troni, CEO at Havas Worldwide Southeast Asia, noted that the combined complexity of digital technology and human behaviour makes trying to predict the future substantially futile.

“We believe that the only way to understand shopping in the digital age is to look at the figures that express real change in behaviour, and then zoom in on 'prosumers', a segment of people who have been proven to anticipate upcoming shifts in habits and beliefs,” she added.

Even though physical touch is important, the demand for online shopping is bound to increase, as shoppers are frustrated by brands that don't have an online presence (60 per cent of 'prosumers', 46 per cent of the mainstream), and predict that more of their shopping will take place online (72 per cent of local respondents).

“On average, more Singaporeans shop online (94 per cent) than their global counterparts (88 per cent), using their mobile devices/smart phones (48 per cent) and tablets (26 per cent) almost twice as much as their global counterparts (25 per cent mobile versus 14 percent tablets),” the study said.

Singaporeans, in general, buy mostly clothing, shoes and accessories, book travel and purchase technology products/personal electronics online. Prosumers also have the same purchasing pattern.

Slightly more than half (51 per cent) of Singaporean consumers said that the first stop for their major purchase decisions is usually the Internet, and this approach is led by prosumers (60 per cent).

The study also revealed that more Singaporeans are likely to share both good and bad experiences online (63 per cent), versus solely sharing only the good (22 per cent) or the bad (5 per cent). Some two-thirds (67 per cent) trust peer reviews above expert reviews, but negative comments are less likely to affect their decisions as consumers become more adept at shopping online.

Security when making a purchase online also proves to be a rather small concern, with close to two-thirds (61 percent) of online shoppers worrying about fraud only occasionally or never at all, the study added.

“We have discovered how shoppers in Singapore are by far the most digitally progressive in the world, while at the same time retailers seem too conservative, much to the frustration of their own customers,” Troni said. “There is a huge opportunity for brands to step up and offer what Singaporeans are demanding of them.”

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