Channel NewsAsia

S'pore consumers prefer high-end products

Singapore consumers are becoming increasingly savvy shoppers. With greater exposure to brands and product information when travelling abroad and online, industry observers said they are developing a taste for sophisticated, premium goods.

SINGAPORE: Singapore consumers are becoming increasingly savvy shoppers.

With greater exposure to brands and product information when travelling abroad and online, industry observers said they are developing a taste for sophisticated, premium goods.

According to a study by research firm Nielsen, the premium segment grew some 16 per cent in 2013, compared to the previous year and accounted for almost 31 percent of the total consumer packaged goods sector.

Nielsen's studies also showed that in the non-consumer packaged goods sector, preferences for premium brand products is very high among Singaporeans, particularly in the smartphone and tablet product segments.

Nielsen said that is due to rising affluence among a consumer base that is increasingly well-travelled.

Vishal Bali, managing director, SEANAP of consumer insights and innovation at Nielsen, said: “Singaporeans love to travel. Our data say one in two Singaporeans use their spare cash for travelling abroad.

“And when they travel abroad, they become aware of new brands, global brands, niche brands, and that also leads to an aspiration to consume brands that are really premium, or high-end products. This coupled with disposable income helps in driving this.”

Amid changing preferences, analysts said larger foreign retailers have an edge, as they have brand appeal and Singaporeans may travel abroad in search for bargains.

This means small retailers need to do more to stay competitive.

Liu Jinshu, lead analyst at Voyage Research, said: “Long-term plans to build branding and recognition among consumers will help to give the company returns in the form of pricing power.

“Other strategies include further product differentiation, more fine product differentiation - this will help to set them apart from competition.”

Experts said e-commerce can help to narrow the gap.

Local sports equipment retailer Transview said online retailing helps them to make their products and information more accessible.

Derrick Lim, business development manager at Transview Lifestyle, said: “Consumers are able to make a more knowledgeable purchase, and for them to repeat the items they have already purchased, it's a breeze compared to going to the shop itself.”

Transview makes about 5 per cent of sales on online retail platform, shopabout.sg, and has plans to expand its range online.  

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna