Singaporeans outspend and outsearch neighbours in the region during Chinese New Year

Singapore, 8 January 2019 — Chinese New Year is one of the most important festivals in the Singapore calendar and Singaporeans take it very seriously as they look to Google and YouTube for help in planning and getting ready for the annual celebrations. As we usher in the Year of the Rat, Google’s insights provide marketeers with a ringside view into what the festival means to Singaporeans, and what they are searching online in preparation for the festivities.

Singaporeans love CNY more than Christmas

Chinese New Year is a festival steeped in tradition with precious moments that bring families and friends together. It surpasses Christmas as the most searched festive moment in Singapore, with two thirds[1] of Singaporeans turning to Google and YouTube as early as six weeks[2] before Chinese New Year to draw inspiration and make plans in advance to celebrate the occasion with their loved ones.

The number of searches has also increased 27% year-on-year as more digitally-savvy Singaporeans go online for ideas and inspiration such as reunion dinner recipes, or fashion inspiration for visitations. 

[Figure 1] Chinese New Year is the most searched festive moment in Singapore

The emphasis Singaporeans place on honouring the traditions of Chinese New Year even surpasses other markets with similar populations of ethnic Chinese. Search volume of CNY-related queries in Singapore last year is twice of Malaysia’s and is also 40% more than Hong Kong, whose population is made up of 92% Chinese[3].

[Figure 2] CNY-related search queries in Singapore outstrips other markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia

Chinese New Year is a powerful commercial moment

The growing interest in Chinese New Year and the meticulous planning involved indicate that Singaporeans spare no expense to get into the festive mood. In 2019, Singaporeans spent $2.3 billion during Chinese New Year, which is 2.5 times more than the popular 11.11 Global Shopping Festival[4].

Google survey findings show that Singaporeans are 44% more likely to try out new products and brands during Chinese New Year than the rest of the year, making it a powerful commercial moment that businesses can leverage. The three key areas that are driving a big part of the spending are:

  1. Food – Reunion dinners are a central tradition of Chinese New Year as it is a time to reestablish familial ties around a good meal. While most meals are prepared at home with lavish ingredients that represent wishes for the new year, there is an upward trend of people who are now looking for restaurants to eat out at and are also open to non-traditional meals such as Japanese and Thai cuisines[5].
  2. Decorations and lighting: Decorating is an important part of the celebration for many Singaporeans as it is believed to invite luck and wealth into their homes. Lanterns and other decorations in red and gold are placed around to help lend a festive air to the home when relatives and friends arrive for a visit.
  3. Clothing: People are encouraged to wear new clothes during Chinese New Year visiting as it marks a new start to the year. Interestingly, searches for apparel and make-up only pick up closer to the start of Chinese New Year, indicating that Singaporeans tend to make the purchases more last minute, possibly to leverage the festive promotions during this period.

Entertaining Singaporeans on YouTube

Apart from finding things to buy on Search, Singaporeans are increasingly looking to YouTube to find CNY content, as watch time for prime Chinese-language content grew by 91% year-on-year.

Singaporeans turn to YouTube to be entertained and inspired. To date, the platform has more than 104 million minutes of CNY-content offering a plethora of videos from festive songs, skits, and tutorials that Singaporeans can choose from to help them get into the festive mood.

In 2019, we have also seen brands leveraging this behaviour by creating videos that capture the spirit of togetherness, and tutorials which introduce new products and recipes. Some of the top feel-good videos from 2019 include Singtel’s poignant short film, titled “From Ma, With Love”, or Yeo’s CNY’s video. NTUC Fairprice also invited Chef Eric to teach a unique dish for customers and the audience to try their hands at during the festive season.

Melissa Lee, Sector Lead for Finance, Government and Retail, Google Singapore said, “Singaporeans care deeply about Chinese New Year. As consumers spend more time searching and watching videos online, free tools such as Google My BusinessGoogle Trends and YouTube can help businesses and SMEs better anticipate what matters to their customers during the busy festive season.”

[1] Google Survey

[2] Google Trends Data

[3] Google Trends data

[4] UOB Survey

[5] Findings are based on Google’s Vision API. With data partners, over 7,000 social images that were set to “public” were analysed during 2019 CNY. It is a representation of “labels” given to images that drive the analyzed theme among the people of Singapore.

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