82
Jul
83
Aug

Government Satisfaction Index

72
Jul
75
Aug

Community Satisfaction

61
Jul
60
Aug

Personal Finances

57
Jul
58
Aug

National Economy

82
Jul
83
Aug

Government Satisfaction Index

72
Jul
75
Aug

Community Satisfaction

61
Jul
60
Aug

Personal Finances

57
Jul
58
Aug

National Economy

16/09/2020
Technology, Business, Society, Featured

ASEAN study: Disgruntled consumers want regional eCommerce players to step up their game

Despite booming sales accelerated by COVID-19, eCommerce players have taken growth for granted at the expense of consumer experience, according to new research released today.  Over a third of consumers in ASEAN (39%) say they are less than satisfied with their digital commerce experience, citing concerns about delivery costs and services, product reliability and the…

Despite booming sales accelerated by COVID-19, eCommerce players have taken growth for granted at the expense of consumer experience, according to new research released today. 

Over a third of consumers in ASEAN (39%) say they are less than satisfied with their digital commerce experience, citing concerns about delivery costs and services, product reliability and the authenticity of in-app reviews (See Appendix 1).

Conducted by leading data content and social research agency Blackbox Research in partnership with consumer intelligence platform Toluna, the research report – Into the Light: Understanding What has Changed for the ASEAN Consumer During COVID-19 – analysed current sentiments, expectations and behaviours of 4,780 consumers across six ASEAN markets. 


Interested in this report? Please click here to download a copy.


Generational gap in digital proficiency closing rapidly

Yashan Cama, International Commercial Director of Blackbox Research says the study has confirmed a significant change in consumer behaviour in recent months driven by an increasing necessity to shop online. 

“Southeast Asia’s retail landscape has undergone a seismic shift since COVID-19 hit the region. While it has been clear for some time that consumers are more digitally adept, it is also clear that older consumers have grown in comfort with digital tools and services. That generational gap really has shrunk in recent months.”

According to the report, while 56% of Gen Zers reported more online spending, the increase is as much driven by older consumers, with the largest increases occurring amongst Gen X (60%) and Millennials (59%) (See Appendix 2).

Cama added, “However, as more shoppers move online, their expectations of the online retail experience have evolved, and this is where eCommerce players must step up their game.” 

ASEAN consumers reported a spike in online spending in response to COVID-19, with over half of those surveyed (59%) now spending more online, and the total online spend for the average ASEAN consumer increasing by almost a third (32%).

ASEAN consumers dissatisfied with digital experience

While consumers across the region have access to the same online services, consumer satisfaction varies from country to country. Indonesia (54%) and Malaysia (57%) recorded the lowest satisfaction levels in the region when it comes to online experiences. Even in Thailand and the Philippines, which recorded the highest satisfaction scores, close to a third were less than satisfied (30% and 33% respectively). Meanwhile, a considerable fraction of consumers in Vietnam (38%) and Singapore (39%) are also disgruntled (See Appendix 3).

The findings suggest that that while major eCommerce brands including Shopee, Lazada and Grab, enjoy high usage rates in the region, this growth has come at the cost of greater scrutiny from consumers (see Appendix 4).

Cama says that consumer frustrations about service quality could become make or break for major eCommerce brands. 

“We expect some of these cornerstone brands to experience a shake-up in the coming months if these existing problems are not quickly addressed. 

“Our report has shown that consumers expect more from the eCommerce experience and will only become more discerning in future. Online retail has transformed from a niche operation to a key consumer service, and standards must improve in line with these expectations. eCommerce players need to rectify core elements of the customer journey and the fulfilment cycle to address these pain points. 

“With consumers now better educated and informed, and 5G technology on the verge of transforming platform capabilities, current market leaders may fall by the wayside if they don’t shift to a more seamless experience.”

Consumers in the ‘new normal’: Home as hub, shift towards local brands

But it is not just eCommerce on the rise; even though the majority of ASEAN consumers remain pessimistic about the region’s economic outlook, they have not cut back on their overall spending. In fact, almost half (48%) say their weekly household expenditure has increased (See Appendix 5).

This is despite close to half (45%) of those surveyed anticipating that their national economy will take a greater hit before recovering. Notably, consumers in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore anticipate a longer recovery period than their more optimistic counterparts in Vietnam and Indonesia who are more likely to anticipate a V-shaped recovery.

Cama says COVID-19 is not only changing how and where consumers are spending their money, but it is also shifting how people are going about their day-to-day lives, which will have a tangible impact on future consumer behaviour. 

“Since the onset of the pandemic, homes in ASEAN have emerged as the headquarters for learning, working and socialising. Over 90% of people are happy working from home, and the majority aren’t missing going to the movies or shopping at retail outlets.”

“Consumers are not rushing back to their old habits, so this new sense of life revolving around the home hub means companies need to rethink how they build this into the consumer experience in future. The home really has emerged as a new headquarters for many people. These changes go right to the heart of consumer behaviour and require innovative approaches across the board from property developers, landlords, employers, through to retailers.”

Another notable shift in consumer sentiment is a resurgence of interest in local brands. Four in five ASEAN consumers said they were more likely to support local brands in the future, driven by a desire to strengthen their local communities and economy (See Appendix 6).

“‘International’ might be on the verge of becoming a dirty word,” says Cama, concluding that “companies will need to assess their portfolios and seriously consider how they can localise their brands to reflect the values that matter most to ASEAN consumers.”


Interested in this report? Please click here to download a copy.


About the Survey 

Blackbox Research and Toluna carried out an online nationally representative survey of n=4,780 across six countries, aged between 18 to 60. Stratified random sampling was applied across key demographic and geographic variables to ensure representative coverage. The survey was conducted in June 2020. 

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16/09/2020
Business, Society, Singapore, Featured

SG Employment: Is there any chance of going back to the way things were?

The only topic at present competing with when a COVID19 vaccine is coming is unemployment. Official statistics revealed local unemployment in Q2 2020 at its highest in a decade. Our latest YKA survey findings show that 33% of Singaporeans are now extremely worried about the level of unemployment while 39% are extremely worried about the…

The only topic at present competing with when a COVID19 vaccine is coming is unemployment. Official statistics revealed local unemployment in Q2 2020 at its highest in a decade.

Our latest YKA survey findings show that 33% of Singaporeans are now extremely worried about the level of unemployment while 39% are extremely worried about the possible level of unemployment over the next 6 months.

This month, we look at three key conversation points currently surrounding employment which reveal why we may have to look at employment in a whole new light moving forwards.

Conversation #1: Should Singapore provide universal unemployment benefits?

Senior Minister Tharman recently suggested some form of unemployment benefits may be required if unemployment levels stay high. However, Singaporeans appear lukewarm about extending the safety net, especially if they have to foot the bill.

When posed with a scenario of paying higher taxes to fund unemployment benefits:

  • Only 31% of Singaporeans feel those unemployed should receive financial support while looking for work, even if it means paying higher taxes. But support is higher among Gen Zs (37%) compared to the older Baby Boomers (23%)
  • 12% of Singaporeans disagree with unemployment benefits, as they believe there are enough training and job opportunities
  • 57% of Singaporeans believe in giving financial support to those unemployed, but not at the expense of themselves having to pay higher levels of tax

Conversation #2: Are current graduate job prospects as bad as some fear?

Another conversation is the extent to which current graduates are going to be impacted in the job market when organisations are looking to scale down and there is the prospect of some jobs moving overseas as a result of cost cutting and tougher Government policies regarding the employment of skilled foreigners.

Over one in four (27%) of Singaporeans are worried about employment prospects of graduates. As may be expected from a graduating cohort, this figure is considerably higher among Gen Zs (39%) than other age groups.

Those who recently graduated or are about to are showing signs of anxiety as they enter the labour market:

  • 62% are questioning the value of their degree
  • 66% are worried about their chances of finding work
  • 55% are willing to take a lower salary to simply get a job


Conversation #3: Is work from home (WFH) here to stay?

With work from home being extended full time into 2021 by some global companies, a key conversation is happening around where we will all work in the future. Are we really willing to go back to the workplace full time? And if not, what impact is this going to have on business practices?

According to our latest findings, 80% of working Singaporeans are still working from home to some extent. However, this proportion varies by household income with 88% of Singaporeans in high income households currently WFH, compared to only 71% in low income households. This may support the view that WFH may, longer term, turn out to be a privilege for some workers only.



Overall, 55% of working Singaporeans say WFH has had a positive impact on their health and well-being. However, it is a positive experience only for 42% of low income households, versus 60% of high income households. Similarly, WFH positively impacts only 31% of Baby Boomers compared to 60% of Gen Zs.

There are some indications that WFH fatigue may also be setting in:

  • 28% of Singaporeans say they are struggling to stay motivated working from home
  • 30% find it increasingly difficult to separate working days from non- working days
  • 1 in 10 feel that less face-to-face interactions with colleagues and bosses will have a negative impact on their career progression

These findings suggest we are a long way from sorting out the ‘rules of the road’ for WFH and much more public discussion needs to take place.

If you would like to know more about current trends on employment, please reach out to our Public Policy Director and employment research specialist, Jonathan Smetherham, jonathan@blackbox.com.sg

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16/09/2020
Technology, Society, Singapore, Featured

Digital Health Passports: Greater Freedom Pre-Vaccine

With the likelihood that any possible COVID19 vaccine will not be available to many of us until 2021, Governments and policy makers have been looking at ways to allow for increased group activity in the safest possible way. Enter the digital health passport: a web-based platform that securely stores a person’s COVID-19 testing status and…

With the likelihood that any possible COVID19 vaccine will not be available to many of us until 2021, Governments and policy makers have been looking at ways to allow for increased group activity in the safest possible way.

Enter the digital health passport: a web-based platform that securely stores a person’s COVID-19 testing status and personal history. Unlike a tracing app, digital health passports are alleged to be less intrusive. The individual can easily share their personal information already in the passport through QR codes, in exchange for access to certain locations or services.

What do Singaporeans think of digital health passports? For a start, close to 1 in 2 Singaporeans are aware of discussions about them while 71% of Singaporeans find the concept appealing, especially those aged 15-24 years-old (82%) who have had to endure six months of social distancing at an age when social proximity is everything.



Eager to adopt the technology if it’s available, Singaporeans also believe they would use digital passports in a variety of settings including travel-related services such as flights (74%) and staycations (70%). We recently looked at post COVID19 travel aspirations in our Unravel Travel report.



Singaporeans also think digital health passports would be useful for everyday activities such as attending work conferences (71%), going to school (71%) and visiting places of worship (69%). There is also a desire to use DP technology to access popular entertainment venues such as theme parks (66%), cinemas (65%) and fairs and festivals (63%).

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16/09/2020
Technology, Politics, Business, Society, Singapore, Featured

Cancel Culture in Singapore: Fad or New Norm?

Cancel culture is a hot topic in global media and appears to divide generations. Here in Singapore, social influencer Xiaxue angered many recently by calling out WP candidate Raeesah Khan on racial issues during GE2020. Not only did she get scorched online, she subsequently lost a key sponsor. Just last month, Youtuber Dee Kosh was…

Cancel culture is a hot topic in global media and appears to divide generations. Here in Singapore, social influencer Xiaxue angered many recently by calling out WP candidate Raeesah Khan on racial issues during GE2020. Not only did she get scorched online, she subsequently lost a key sponsor.

Just last month, Youtuber Dee Kosh was under the spotlight for allegations of sexual harassment with a minor. Multiple police reports were lodged against him, which resulted in brands like Lenovo and Huawei distancing themselves from him.

In 2019, YKA looked into doxxing behaviours after the Ministry of Law announced new legislation with regards to online harassment.

What is “cancel culture”? According to CNA, it is a concerted effort to withdraw support for a public figure or business that has said or done something objectionable until they either apologise or disappear from view. It can also result in the target losing their job, status and income and support.



Our findings show that nearly half of all Singaporeans over the age of 15 (47%) believe online shaming is justified at least some of the time and one in five claim to have shamed someone online. Shaming appears to be more of a practice amongst Millennials (31%) than Gen Zs (0nly 10%) which may suggest this is a passing trend in Singapore.



Just under a third of Singaporeans (32%) say they like aspects of cancel culture because it allows ordinary people to take on the powerful. However, only 39% think it is a positive trend
in society. Again, Millennials are the most likely segment (43%) to support the idea as a positive social force.

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16/09/2020
Society, Top News Stories

Singapore’s Top 5 News Stories of the Month: August 2020

The COVID-19 situation in Singapore dominated headlines, followed by news of Singapore’s record jobless rates. SIA’s net loss in Q1 of more than $1 billion was also closely followed.

The COVID-19 situation in Singapore dominated headlines, followed by news of Singapore’s record jobless rates. SIA’s net loss in Q1 of more than $1 billion was also closely followed.


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