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YKA, Trends

The Wet Market Debate: Time for Some Disruption?

Singaporeans are increasingly picky about where they get their purchases, especially when it comes to fresh produce and groceries. Those who prefer their ingredients fresh and cheap know the wet market is the place to go. Despite this, wet markets are losing favour and in this issue of YKA, we dig into the reasons why.

In terms of perceptions, 85% of Singaporeans feel wet markets still provide the freshest food, while 3-in-4 believe they offer better value for money over supermarkets. However, a majority of Singaporeans (83%) feel wet markets are losing popularity because younger people do not want to shop there, even though it is a significant part of our culture and seen as worthy of preservation (86%).

While 6 in 10 have shopped at a wet market in the last month, only 22% of Singaporean households buy most of what they need from the wet market. 

So what’s turning Singaporeans away from wet markets? Some say they find wet markets bothersome to visit (65%), while some dislike the hot, smelly and messy atmosphere (57%). This figure is much higher among younger Singaporeans 15-24 years-old (65%).

Some have suggested refreshing our wet markets to keep up with times and most agree this would make them more popular (84%). Still, 8 in 10 Singaporeans feel wet markets cannot compete with home deliveries and organic produce providers. 53% of households are spending less money at wet markets compared to 2-3 years ago. Only time will tell if modernisation can reverse this trend.