Finance-savvy Singaporeans are increasingly using digital means to enhance their understanding of and buy financial products, according to Google’s first Asia-Pacific report on financial services.
The report was launched together with Google’s APAC financial dashboard, which shares insights on how consumers from 10 countries in the region are searching for financial products.
Search demand for financial products grew 11 percent year-on-year in Singapore, Google said, with a massive 28 percent increase in mobile search. At 91 percent, mobile penetration in Singapore is the joint-highest in Asia.
Significantly, two-thirds of Singaporeans already have a brand in mind when conducting their financial product searches, a trend Google found fairly consistent in more mature economic markets across APAC.
Top of mind for Singaporeans is insurance, with eight of the 10 queries relating to some form of insurance. Another key trend was learning how to start investing.
“This speaks very well to how thoughtful the Singaporean consumer is not just about the present, but the future too,” said Michael Yue, industry head for banking and financial services at Google Singapore.
“Financial literacy in Singapore is one of the highest in Asia, and consumers like to be well-informed before making any decisions. Singaporeans care about financial planning and often turn to search to help them understand financial products and investments.”
Pitted against the top four other financial hubs worldwide—London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong—Singapore accounts for 13 percent of investment-related searches, which is higher than Hong and shows it is “punching well above its weight” according to Yue.
The importance of mobile is again highlighted, as mobile searches regarding wealth management increased 41 percent year-on-year.
While Yue said Google does not have the demographic data regarding Singaporeans searching online for financial products, he said the data shows it is “important to provide the best message to your financial consumers online”.
That 66 percent of Singaporean consumers already have a financial brand in mind before they search could be an alarming statistic for many smaller financial companies. Local banks are best in class for brand recall, Google said, having invested heavily in their digital offerings and marketing over recent years, which Yue said has driven the shift in consumer behaviour towards digital for researching financial products.
But Yue said the data also shows there is an opportunity for new financial brands to make an impact. “You have to identify your clear value proposition to the user and present it. That encourages potential switching,” he said.
Yue also pointed out that several financial institutions are now partnering with smaller finance or fintech players, which can allow both brands to benefit.