Surekha Ragavan
Aug 31, 2020

Singapore's top 100: Locals embrace brands that innovate and adapt

ASIA'S TOP 1000 BRANDS: In a fast-paced and digital-savvy market like Singapore, targeted marketing and an understanding of local nuances are vital to brand health.

Singapore's top 100: Locals embrace brands that innovate and adapt

SINGAPORE's TOP 100 BRANDS: RANKING ANALYSIS

Being a tech-driven, hyper-personalised market has evidently sustained Singapore through this pandemic. This year’s list of top brands in Singapore is testament to the power of a strong digital presence, even prior to COVID-19.

The biggest mover in the top 10 is Nestle, which gained six spots to sixth position overall. Nestle brands—including Milo, Nescafe and Maggi—continue to be household staples in Singapore, perhaps even more so as many work from home.

Nescafe in particular has been making headlines for creative marketing partnerships including coming on as a sponsor for local esports group Team SMG, a collaboration with Starbucks, and promoting drinks recipes to consumers including the now-infamous Dalgona coffee. Despite Nestle brands expanding their ecommerce operations and digital footprint, these examples above demonstrate the importance of continuing to engage directly with consumers.

Biggest gains in top 100
Brand 2020 rank 2019 rank Change
OCBC 66 143 77
Netflix 63 135 72
Amazon 64 108 44
BMW 47 77 30
Pizza Hut 76 105 29
SK-II 91 120 29
F&N 45 73 28
Scoot 51 78 27
StarHub 52 79 27
Booking.com 100 127 27
Biggest drops in top 100
Brand 2020 rank 2019 rank Change
H&M 90 54 -36
Qoo10 98 64 -34
Samsonite 74 40 -34
NTUC Income 84 55 -29
Evian 75 53 -22
Heinz 81 61 -20
Ayam Brand 78 58 -20
Jetstar 87 71 -16
POSB 57 41 -16
Sony Playstation 58 44 -14

Julia Wei, managing partner at AKA Asia, says that brands need to ensure they continue to remain visible and top-of-mind in consumers’ lives regardless of a growth in ecommerce operations.

“Brands may lose touch with consumers if the front-end of these touchpoints from shopping to fulfilment are represented by third-party providers. It’s important to continue to invest in connecting and engaging directly with the consumer,” she says.

“We see big climbs for digital service providers, ecommerce brands as well as innovation-led brands. We have progressed from early adoption to mainstream usage of such services, with better infrastructure now in place including delivery, payments, logistics, hardware and customer service. Many of these brands have gained reach quickly by investing in acquisition. As always with innovation brands, the positive impact and progress brought about by their products and services is felt tangibly by consumers.”

Samsung and Apple remain the top two brands in the country, respectively; a foreseeable outcome in a market of gadget-adoring and hype-driven consumers.

Apple will soon open its first-ever floating store in Singapore's Marina Bay Sands


But perhaps Apple is a rare brand to garner local fanaticism largely from its brick-and-mortar operations. The brand operates two physical stores in Singapore and is only one of two countries in Southeast Asia to sport an official store.

Soon, it will launch a third outlet in Marina Bay Sands, which incidentally, will also be the brand’s first floating store in the world. When its flagship store along Orchard Road shut for three months during the pandemic, a late June reopening caused ‘fans’ to throng the store, and many queued for hours. 

In the same vein of consumer electronics, LG climbed three spots to third place while rival Panasonic slipped by one spot to fifth. But a surprising change this year is Toshiba’s rise from 62 to 41, a pattern that goes hand-in-hand with the proliferation of electronics on ecommerce platforms such as Lazada and Qoo10.

Wei adds that brands that continue to highlight their purpose have also seen a rise in brand rankings this year. These include brands that have nailed localised marketing and cultural resonance.

“Brands that portray themselves well as being part of culture— like Gucci—remain relevant in an ever-changing world. There are also a few major sponsors of iconic Singapore venues on the list that continue to show strong brand rankings,” she says.

Gucci's Chinese New Year campaign resonated with shoppers in Singapore


Incidentally, Gucci climbed 24 spots this year to 27th place and is now the highest-ranking luxury brand in Singapore, perhaps partly down to its high-profile Mickey Mouse collaboration for Chinese New Year. Tiffany & Co also recorded a slight bump in rankings to 89th spot, but overall, luxury brands remains stable and unchanged.

Still sticking to retail, fast-fashion brands H&M (90) and Zara (70) both experienced slumps this year while competitor Uniqlo retains its spot in the early-40s. H&M—which fell 36 spots—has been plagued by poor sales and store closures globally, and its weak online presence in Singapore doesn’t help.

“Brands that have risen in ranks due to explosive operational growth over the past few years need to continue to stay relevant as their operations stabilises. In categories such as fast fashion in particular, scale and reach has been a major driver of brand awareness and perception,” said Wei.

“The consistency of the customer experience has also become predictable for such brands. As this growth plateaus and with the shift to more ecommerce options, there is a need to continue to find ways to continue to inject freshness, and to surprise and delight the customer.”

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