Deciphering the big digital surge in Singapore

By Jayden Chu

Last year, Smartphone online behavior in the Lion City went berserk

A relatively small concrete jungle like Singapore is bound to be closely escorted with technological rise, and that’s for a couple of reasons, one of them is public behavior.

The list of leisure activities only bounces around going to the mall, primarily for movies, food and shopping, hence a big slice of public goings-on is attributed to going online and the use of mobile gadgets.

Smartphone usage in Singapore is swelling at breakneck speed, and amazingly, distribution is consistent among all age groups – yes, including older netizens.

It’s becoming so big that the market share is customized differently for the country, and its marketing potential is gradually overwhelming the industry.

Everyone knows how big the Smartphone scene in Singapore is, but taking a look at the actual numbers, a lot of you can still get mesmerized. Do the math:

Singapore 2012 population - 5,312,400

Number of internet users - 3,971,318 (That’s a whopping 75%)

Now, couple that with:

Singapore smartphone penetration rate (Q1 2013) – 71.7%

(Ranks 4th worldwide, behind only UAE, South Korea and Saudi Arabia)

The fact that the Singapore public, extremely active online, is among the top smartphone users in the world is a huge thing for marketers.

The advertising and sales value of this phenomenon is unprecedented especially coming from a seemingly undersized territory, but the country is relentless - its Smartphone ecosystem has been growing increasingly vibrant over the last few years, which most noticeably peaked last year.

Here are other statistics from 2012:

·         11.5% of internet traffic in Singapore came from mobile devices

·         Internet users view social networking sites 3.1 billion times every month

·         According to a December 2012 social media report by Nielsen,  seven in ten Singaporean consumers interact with social media via their mobile phone, which ranked 1st at that time

·         At one point, specifically In Q4 of 2012, Singapore led the world in smartphone ownership at 90%

·         At that same time, Singapore held the highest ratio of mobile sales to country size, taking into consideration the national population

The implications of this continuing surge in smartphone addiction: increased attention from the rest of the world regarding its current state and its imminent future.

Experian, a global marketing services and information hub, gave a fearless forecast of the years to come through a study entitled The digitized pocket: Embracing the mobile age.

Focusing on the Singapore mobile market, the report revealed that eight out of ten Singapore-based marketers surveyed said that “ “mobile will be one of the most important tools to engage with customers in the next two to three years.”

Also, according to the  study, seven out of ten marketers believe sales achieved through mobile devices will grow in the next year, with 69% expecting mobile sales to either significantly increase (22%) or increase (47%),

John Merakovsky, Managing Director of Marketing Services at Experian Asia Pacific, said “In Singapore, the smartphone will soon become a digital replacement for almost everything consumers carry in their pockets and wallets – cash, credit and debit cards, passes, receipts, vouchers, tickets and loyalty cards.”

“Clearly, mobile devices are a key way to connect with audiences in Singapore. In an increasingly complex marketing environment, consumers are empowered like never before and are calling the shots in terms of how and when they engage with brands,” Merakovsky adds. “With this in mind, the mobile channel presents a great opportunity for marketers to boost the effectiveness of their broader campaigns.”

As marketers beef up their strategies for the coming years, it will be interesting to see how different treatments in social media and content marketing would evolve to accommodate the smartphone frenzy. One thing’s for sure: smartphones are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

A more detailed account of the Experian study can be found at


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