Singapore SMEs must understand these digital trends, or risk irrelevance

Surfing on internet, Googling for answers, checking out friends on Facebook. These activities used to be the domain of the young & savvy in Singapore. Latest consumer report spearheaded by Google tells us otherwise. Smartphone has brought along a whole new wave of internet users. From the infographic, it can be seen that a staggering 93% of the 45–54 age group in Singapore carries a smartphone. At 34%, Smartphone is far ahead of computer desktop as the default choice of medium used for accessing internet. This can be due to a variety of reasons; Smartphones are more user-friendly and easy to pick up for the more mature users, as compared to desktops. Smartphones can be used anywhere anytime to access the internet without having to find a workstation whatsoever.

Changing internet environment

It is evident that the world is changing, at least here in Singapore. With such unprecedented convenience and ease of internet access, traditional ways of retrieving information such as using newspaper/radio/tv are now declining. Come to think of it, you are also reading this news article online, isn’t it?

Even for retail stores, online has become the top mean in which a consumer discovers their product. Internet will become a bigger and bigger part of our lives in Singapore, especially as the government make plans towards being a smart nation. Higher internet speed, more wifi areas and charging points will all contribute towards the coming of a more internet-reliant country.

Information rules

Any shift in behavior has its pros and cons. However, from what it seems now, the change is a positive one. For one, consumers are empowered with more information than ever before in making decisions. They are pampered with review sites, blogs and social content to form a viewpoint about a business and industry before purchasing. Some time ago, we had to believe everything the salesman tells us due to information asymmetry. One thing for sure, consumers stand to benefit from this phenomenon.

What can businesses do

Businesses in Singapore need not grieve. Yes, your salesmen may lose some sales to the internet. However, no one is stopping businesses from tapping into internet as a source of sales as well. It starts with understanding today’s consumers. They are a well-informed batch that can easily smell past any gimmicks. Businesses have to provide them with useful information on the website such as product information, testimonials & reviews. Some businesses even put detailed price information on their website. Not to mention that it has to be mobile-friendly.

In time to come, written content may even be a thing of the past. Video consumption is rapidly increasing with 48% of people in Singapore watching it daily. Facebook has also tweaked its algorithm to include more videos in news feed. Technology moves as fast as lightning. Businesses that are quick to catch up will definitely reap immense rewards.

IceCube.Asia is a digital marketing consultancy in Singapore.

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Originally published at singaporedaily.net on September 20, 2016.