Young Consumers in Singapore

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FOCUS 13—24

Young consumers in Singapore
Wang Hongjun, a young consumer and youth researcher, provides an insight into youth lifestyles in Singapore

YOUNG CONSUMERS tend to be more experiential and receptive to new products and images. They like to discover new ‘cool’ products for themselves and are constantly on the lookout for new trends and brands. This target demographic, more so than any other, is tremendously viral and connected. Young consumers are always on the lookout for fun and interesting new activities and they will then relate these experiences to their peers. It’s frequently all or nothing when it comes to making ‘either/or’ choices. While many companies focus on asking, ‘Do you prefer McDonald’s or Burger King?’, the truth is the ultimate choice is seldom as clear-cut as individual preference. In these cases, it’s a zero sum game and when a choice has to be made, it’s usually the decisive and vocal individuals in the group who will make certain decisions and you either benefit from the patronage of the whole group or lose the entire group at that particular moment. The group or social factor is also a key feature of young consumers and their interaction with brands and consumerism. Most of the more successful lifestyle brands among the teen market are those that are inclusive rather than isolated. Take, for example, karaoke. It is popular among teens not because they want to show off how well they can sing, but rather because this activity allows them to chill out, have fun and go crazy while shouting to songs together in a room of their own. Quarter 1 2006

What do youths in Singapore spend money on?
When out in groups, young people are often faced with the question of ‘What do we do now?’ Beyond the obvious pastimes, such as shopping and watching movies, Singapore youths are looking out for activities to relax over and bond together so they can forget about academic stress. A few years ago, we were probably wondering why anyone would pay $5 for a coffee. Now, more youths are paying this amount of money willingly because they want to chill, talk and enjoy the company of their friends without being thrown out by an over-zealous fast-food manager. Another noteworthy point will be the fact that most young consumers in Singapore seem to be primed and ready to buy. And they are more inclined to make that impulse buy because of group dynamics or the need for instant gratification. Girls, more than boys, are very likely to buy small things like gifts, figurines, stuffed toys, fashion accessories, jewellery and all sorts of small impulse items. Of course, they do not just buy things for themselves. They are buying for their parents, their friends and their boyfriends or girlfriends. Birthdays usually see a group of friends pooling money together to buy gifts and treat the birthday boy or girl. Youths also make decisions to buy IT products as well as other electrical devices, and make sure they are equipped with the latest information on which products are best, using the power © World Advertising Research Center 2006

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YOUNG CONSUMERS

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of the internet and access to other consumer reviews.

Connectivity
Compared to previous generations, today’s youth is much more connected in many different ways. This connectivity, no doubt, was made possible by the internet and various services and programs that came with it. In this age of instant gratification, the internet’s strength stems from the fact that the user is in the driving seat. This empowers consumers to look for what they want and gain access to information that previously would have been difficult to access. While a salesman might tell you how wonderful the digital camera is, all a young consumer needs to do today is to simply Google the camera and, chances are, he or she will come across reviews and detailed specifications in just a few seconds. This, in a way, forces the retailer to

know their product well and to be...
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