Singapore, a city economy, have a matured internet infrastructure and a population with high digital literacy. This and other factors have drive the growth of internet economy and a wide range of social media use in the country.
While there are a range of social media development in Singapore, the way the government leverage social media is probably the most forwarding in our opinion. Across 2022, Emplifi delivered a study on how 27 statutory boards and 16 ministries utilized prominent social media channels to communicate and interact with Singapore residents on a broad spectrum of topics. These topics ranged from environmental concerns, flooding, public transportation, and mental health, to COVID-19 vaccinations, among others.
Interestingly, the study discovered that social media users remained highly engaged with government agencies. Nearly half (58.64%) of the content on government profiles comprised brand content, with an impressive 97.72%, or 6.15 million, interactions. However, user-generated content, accounting for 41.36% of the content examined, garnered only 143,585 interactions (2.28%). In terms of interaction format, replies took the lead at 42.2%, followed by shares (32.84%), and posts (24.96%) across all primary statutory boards and ministries’ social media profiles.
Focusing on Instagram (the preferred channel for engagement by the public sector), Emplifi reported 3.61 million users, which corresponds to 66.3% of Singapore’s population. The proportion of published content on Instagram witnessed a rise of 4.81% to 9,138 posts from 2021 to 2022. Engagement also showed a significant increase of 17.25% to 2.91 million. This highlights Instagram’s rising importance as a powerful platform for public engagement and information dissemination in Singapore’s digital landscape.
Social commerce, bolstered by live-streaming, is gaining impressive momentum in Singapore. Originally a phenomenon originating from China, live-streaming has seen significant uptake across various countries in the Asia Pacific region. These interactive sessions effectively engage customers, resulting in higher conversion rates. The pandemic-induced shutdowns of stores and businesses have further propelled the shift towards live-streaming as a primary mode of human-to-human interaction in shopping. Brands and businesses are now leveraging this method to enhance sales, merging digital and physical retail experiences. Platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live have grown in popularity, especially amongst the millennial demographic, transforming live commerce into a mainstream trend in Singapore.
For small businesses owner in Singapore we also see them increasingly leverage social media platforms to showcase or even livestream their handcrafted items and “pack with me” videos. Independent and small enterprises find success in content that viewers can relate to, as the authenticity of such content drives viewer engagement and, ultimately, sales. Typically, the products on offer are of relatively low value, making them ideal for impulse purchases. For bigger businesses, we see them usually focus on amusement rather than value, often veer towards extremes. They comprise both user-generated content (UGC) and professionally-generated content.
Given the latest survey available, in Singapore there are about 4.9 million active social media users (Log in at least once in a month) in 2022. This is about 89.5 % of the addressable demographics. Also, Throughout 2021 to 2022, the number of users has grown 6.9 %.
WhatsApp has long dominated the social media landscape in Singapore. With 83.7% of internet users reportedly using the chat app. While a separate data source has shown the usage rate of 98%, however the data source lacks information such as survey audience, size, and what questions were asked.
Facebook and Instagram also have a significant market share among internet users in Singapore, with around 65-80% actively engaging on these platforms. However, in recent years, Telegram has been growing rapidly, primarily by attracting users who are concerned about privacy issues with Facebook-owned platforms such as WhatsApp. According to a survey conducted by Blackbox, a research team in Singapore, among those who are leaving WhatsApp or considering alternative chat apps, 51% have chosen Telegram and 35% have chosen Signal.
However, on the social commerce side of things, we are seeing Facebook becoming the most popular platform for livestreaming, where hosts visit high-end outlets in European locations. An instance of this occurred in France when a Gucci outlet closed part of its store to allow Singaporean celebrity singer Wang Lei to promote products through a livestream. This session alone generated sales worth SGD1 million. Recognizing the potential of livestreaming, local celebrities are launching their start-ups, including Mdada.live. Although short-form videos have gained traction in Singapore in recent years, they are not expected to eclipse livestreaming. It is predicted that short-form video advertising and livestreaming will coexist in the years ahead.
On the short-form videos, ByteDance’s TikTok, known for its 15-second videos, has been the driving force behind the rise of short-form videos. This format caters to consumers with short attention spans, enabling them to decide quickly on watching an advertisement. While traditional video-sharing platforms require users to consider whether to watch an ad, social media marketing channels often provide a link to an e-commerce site. Yet, the advertiser must initially persuade the viewer to watch the video. Short-form videos, typically lasting between 5 to 15 minutes, minimize deliberation time and generate high engagement. Both Facebook and Google have sought to tap into this trend by introducing Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, respectively. Advertisers find platforms like TikTok and Instagram particularly appealing due to their shopping features, which provide a clear call to action for prospective customers. Instagram Shopping, for example, allows consumers to purchase products directly from brands and creators.
Considering recent developments, TikTok emerges as a potential competitor. In November 2021, ByteDance launched the “TikTok Seller” mobile app, a comprehensive platform offering features from data collection to after-sales service, product and order management, and return and refund management, among others. In March 2021, TikTok had partnered with e-commerce platform Shopify, facilitating merchants to create, run, and optimize their marketing campaigns. Additionally, Shopify and TikTok are working together on a feature enabling consumers to shop directly through the app.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.02%, there is now around 4.91 million Facebook users in Singapore . With male users account for around 49.02% and female users account for around 50.98%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.14%, there is now around 2.91 million Instagram users in Singapore . With male users account for around 44.97% and female users account for around 55.03%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.91%, there is now around 2.3 million TikTok users in Singapore . With male users account for around 0.465 and female users account for around 0.535.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.11x, there is now around 3.65 million LinkedIn users in Singapore.