Social, Digital and Mobile in Singapore

Simon Kemp

For today’s Social, Digital and Mobile in Asia report, we’re covering Singapore:

And we’ve got a bonus report today too. Although Brunei Darussalam is a totally separate country to Singapore, there are many similarities in the two countries’ Social, Digital and Mobile landscapes, so we’ll explore the two of them together:

The island state of Singapore may be small – at just 710 sq km, it’s one of the smallest countries in the world – but its 5 million inhabitants enjoy one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world.

At 70% of the total population, Singapore has the highest penetration of smartphones in the world.

Singapore is also home to one of the most digitally native populations in the world: 97% of Singaporeans aged 15-19 use the internet on a regular basis. 80% of all Singaporean internet users access the web every single day.

Indeed, the internet appears to be fast becoming the number one medium in Singapore, with locals spending more than twice as much time using the web as they do watching TV. Nearly half of Singapore’s netizens also choose to get their TV and movie content fix via the internet.

The internet trumps print media in Singapore too, especially when it comes to the lucrative 25-34 year-old audience. At 80% penetration for this group, Facebook‘s reach is well over twice that of the Straits Times.

Social media in general play a key role in Singapore’s digital landscape, with the average local netizen spending about an hour every day on social media sites. Facebook is the clear leader, with more than half the total population maintaining a Facebook account. According to Facebook, well over half of these users check in every single day.

Games are another popular online activity amongst Singapore’s connected audiences, as any trip on the nation’s MRT subways system will attest.

Indeed, it seems Singaporeans convert every moment of ‘downtime’ into an opportunity to engage in some form of connected activity. Glance around any train carriage during rush hour, and the people watching videos or playing games on iPhones, iPads and Galaxies will invariably outnumber those not staring at a connected device. Even short escalator rides are an opportunity to watch another Youtube clip or share something via Twitter.

Although fewer reported data are available for Brunei, the digital habits of the nation’s population appear to be quite similar to Singapore’s.

Internet penetration is even higher than in Singapore, and is second only to South Korea across the whole of Asia.

Critically, Brunei has the highest rate of Social Media use in Asia, with 55% of the population maintaining a Facebook profile.

Mobile subscriptions in the country also surpass the total number of people, with smartphones again being the devices of choice.

The future hold some exciting developments for these Southeast Asian nations too; in particular, Singapore is set to enjoy widespread 4G coverage in the coming months, while other government-championed digital and social media initiatives look set to ensure Singapore is one of the world’s most connected countries.

Meanwhile, many companies are looking to Singapore’s net-savvy citizens as an ideal testbed for their latest innovations – even Facebook appears to have chosen the island state to be one of the first places to test the new Private Messaging feature for its Pages.

We fully anticipate that the next edition of this report, which we’ll publish in just a few months, will show some impressive new developments in these two countries. Stay tuned…