KNOWLEDGE BASE Market Research In Singapore
The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.
Market Research In Singapore
Before we start developing a go-to-market strategy for Singapore, it’s important to answer some fundamental questions about Singapore, your company, product, and prospective market. Using market research in Singapore will help answer a number of your questions about the people and the market's prospects.
Who are your prospective customers in Singapore?
Singapore is a young country with a complex mix of cultures, primarily made up of people groups stemming from China, India and Malaysia. There are pockets of Europeans, Americans, and Australians that also contribute to the culture. Singapore is a fascinating mix of people who are highly educated, technology-savvy, relatively wealthy compared to other Asian countries, and yet culturally conservative with deep family roots and identification with the country of ethnic origin. The Globig Knowledge Base and support resources have a lot of information about Singapore that’s important to consider prior to identifying prospective customers.
Singapore is considered the ‘Gateway to Asia’ or ‘Asia Light’ for many foreign companies who use it as a product testing ground for how their products will resonate with other Asian cultures prior to going into China, India, Malaysia and Japan. This means that the Singaporean people are used to being part of test markets, and they expect aggressive promotions and lots of loyalty rewards to stay with a specific brand. They are known for being fickle and jumping from brand to brand depending upon the offers.
It’s not easy to develop a ‘one size fits all’ approach to Singapore and narrowing your focus is the best approach for success in this market, as it is in most markets.
Who are your prospective customers' influencers?
Once you’ve identified your target market or at least what you believe is the best segment to develop a plan around, you’ll also want to identify the influencers for those groups. Globig Connect has influencers broken out by a number of categories and additional influencers are regularly added.
If you find that your target market culturally identifies with their Chinese background, for example, you’ll want to consider Chinese influencers, media, and events in Singapore as marketing opportunities. While this is a generalization, it does prove true. The Asian culture is social and relies heavily on word of mouth and a product introduction through someone they have a relationship with. Brands that recognize, reward, and take the time to develop relationships will perform better.
What pain or problem do you solve for your target market in Singapore?
For products or services that are familiar to a market, you must have a much better product and be more remarkable than what is already being used as a solution. For unfamiliar products and services, such as concepts that never existed before, it’s best to do some product testing to determine if the solution you’re offering is something this new market will embrace. It helps to work with influencers first to get them using your product and services. Examples of a new unfamiliar product category are Airbnb or Twitter prior to the existence of those products. It would be hard to know how people respond prior to testing in market and getting influencers on board to talk about the brand.
Do they need or want your solution?
There are several ways you can test how well your product or service would be received and perceived, if there is confusion around it, if your product is sufficiently localized for this market, and even how much you could charge for your product and service.
Market research options
There are several ways you can test how well your product or service would be received and perceived, if there is confusion, if your product is sufficiently localized for this market, and even how much you could charge for your product and service. Because Singapore is such an important test market for many companies, there are several options for implementing product research in market.
Online surveys and opinion polls
There are both self-serve options for surveying targeted groups and full service research firms to consider. Your budget, time frame, and required level of depth will all impact the cost of the research.
For do-it-yourself quick and lower budget surveys and opinion polls, several online survey companies offer targeted consumer groups in Singapore. These include
In order to recruit survey takers, you should assume you’ll pay $80-$200 per person to give you feedback.
A full service option for companies based in Singapore is bdrc-asia.com.
To get an idea of what other companies are researching in Singapore, take a look at this Facebook page: Focus Group and Survey Lobang In Singlish, a Lobang is a Malay word for ‘hole’ or ‘opportunity’. This site features a listing of opportunities for different surveys and focus groups and how much they will pay. Taking surveys and joining focus groups is a popular way to make some money in Singapore because so many companies are doing research there.
Focus groups in Singapore
Depending upon the prospective customer group, the day of the week, time of day, and traffic, it can be hard to get people to show up for focus groups.
Focus groups can be a very effective way of doing market research in Singapore, though, for better understanding the people and culture. It’s also important to remember that different cultures will assign meaning to things in a different way and may have dialects and words with meanings that vary from culture to culture.
We recommend working with a local research group with experience recruiting and running focus groups in Singapore instead of doing them without assistance.
Product testing and sampling
For physical products that need customer feedback, there’s a variety of ways to test your product. One is to work with influencers such as bloggers that have an audience you’re interested in and ask them to give away some of your product and get feedback. Another is to set up sampling events in key areas. Many of the market research agencies we’ve featured can assist you with this, or you could work with specialty retailers that might be interested in selling your product if customers really like it. You’ll want to make sure that you have a small team of people ready to manage everything if you’re not working with an agency to do it for you.
For many products, especially electronics, clothing, food, and toys, you’ll want to make sure your products meet Singapore safety guidelines and have the proper testing and licensing prior to sampling.
Here are some additional resources to consider:
1. Eye tracking and shopper studies - PRS Perception Research Services
3. Testing, Inspections, and Certification - Bureau Veritas CPS
The Globig Marketplace provides information on a number of research firms in Singapore who can help you with your market research efforts.
KNOWLEDGE BASE Market Research In Singapore