Singaporean Consumers Adapt Payment Behaviour as ‘New Normal’ Takes Shape – Visa Study

Singapore, 18 June 2020 – Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has announced key findings on how the spending habits and behaviours of  Singaporean consumers are changing as operating in the ‘new normal’ takes shape across the globe. These findings come from a Visa survey[1] of consumers from across 40 countries worldwide, including Singapore.

According to the Study, three in five Singaporeans (66 per cent) are forming cashless habits, preferring to pay with cards or through mobile applications over cash. In addition, 78 per cent of Singaporeans said they intend to stick with digital payment methods instead of reverting back to cash even when the current emergency is over.

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei, said: “We approached the study with the intention to gain a timely, deeper and clearer understanding of how Singaporean consumer behaviours are changing in the current environment.  In this new normal, we’re seeing a shift – Singaporeans are becoming more digital, and the COVID-19 situation has forced consumers to adopt this change in behaviour.”

Many Singaporean consumers are trying eCommerce for the first time and intend to increase buying online in the future. Based on the findings, 40 per cent of Singaporean consumers said they are most likely to increase their online shopping, similar to the number of global shoppers (32 per cent).

“Based on our data, we see that one in five active Visa cardholders who have never made an eCommerce transaction in 2019 are shopping online for the first time this year. They are shopping for essential goods and services such as groceries, pharmaceutical goods and making bill payments for their telecommunication services. They are also making purchases for retail goods at online department stores, and discount stores. Moreover, we are seeing that eCommerce growth is 10 times faster than face-to-face,[2]  added Kunal.

When it comes to the shopping experience, 37 per cent of Singaporean respondents said online shopping is a more positive experience than shopping at a physical store, similar to the global response (35%).

“Given consumers’ shift in preferences to start purchasing goods and services online, it is critical for Visa to work with merchants to enhance the online shopping experiences for consumers to ensure it is seamless, secure and convenient,” added Kunal.

The study also shows cashless habits are forming across the globe with 66 per cent of Singaporean respondents saying they prefer paying with cashless methods.  Similarly, 61 per cent of Asia Pacific and 59 per cent of global respondents say they prefer cashless methods.

The way people intend to pay in the future is consistent across the globe, with consumers in Singapore (78 per cent), Asia Pacific (75 per cent) and around the world (68 per cent) choosing to stick with electronic payments after the current situation is over.

Consumers are also becoming more cost-conscious. Sixty-five per cent of Singaporeans said they are paying more attention to prices nowadays, compared to consumers in Asia Pacific (63 per cent) and around the world (59 per cent). Singaporean consumers are also most likely to be on the lookout for a bargain, with 51 per cent paying more attention to products on sale, compared to their counterparts in Asia Pacific (47 per cent) and global (45 per cent).

“We hope these findings will spark conversation and drive collaboration amongst the payment ecosystem and beyond, as together we navigate these uncharted waters in Singapore. Visa will continue to utilise its data, drive innovative practical solutions, and leverage the power of our global network to help businesses in Singapore grow stronger as we enter the different phases of recovery,” Kunal concluded. 

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