Social media & search engines | Silicon Valley reigns supreme
Although the Singaporean native population is predominantly of Chinese descent, this does not translate into dominance by e.g. WeChat, Baidu or Weibo. Digital in 2019 Singapore by Hootsuite and We Are Social has 86% and 82% of respondents using WhatsApp and Facebook resp., while for WeChat and Sina Weibo this is only 33% and 12% resp. In the same report Google outranks Baidu by a factor of two when it comes to page visitors and views.
In general, we can thus say that the American social platforms and search engines are the most viable option for your B2C and B2B marketing efforts. However, especially when trying to reach certain portions of the Chinese Singaporean population and recent Chinese expats, integrating for example WeChat into your digital campaigns is increasingly important.
E-commerce | local heroes first
With Google and Facebook calling the shots in the social and search engine space, this must mean Amazon follows suit for ecommerce, right? Wrong. It’s local players like Lazada, Carousell, Qoo10 and Shopee that make up the top four e-commerce platforms based on estimated monthly traffic, with Amazon not even in the top 10 according to a recent study by Asean Up. These local players, in the case of Lazada owned by Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group, are your main go-to when considering online sales platforms as part of your sales strategy.
Discounts and loyalty programs
Now you know which digital marketing and sales channels you should consider, but how to appeal to local consumers or businesses? Experience tells that even more so than in other markets, discounts and loyalty programs are effective tools. In the B2C space especially, many of your competitors will have some kind of membership program and at least discounts for returning customers. Be prepared to think outside the box and craft the right customer retention strategies as in many cases, consumers and businesses in Singapore are not strapped for choice.
Without a doubt, Singapore is probably most accessible markets in Southeast Asia for foreign professionals and business alike. Nevertheless, as any place, it has many unique characteristics that require you to adapt to in order to succeed.
RIFF APAC helps local and foreign companies, in the realm of B2C and B2B, connect with their respective target audiences in Singapore and the wider region.