Digital behaviors and habits in Singapore

Singapore digital habits

Though Singapore is a rather small country in Southeast Asia, when it comes to mobile devices, Internet, social media and e-commerce, Singaporeans are some of the most active users in the region and the world. With such a mature digital market, Singapore has become a global hub and a regional capital for tech companies.

Here are the latest figures available for the digital population of Singapore, across different online activities: use of Internet, mobile devices and social media.

Numbers of Internet, social media and mobile users in Singapore in January 2017

Singaporean digital market overview

Though dating from 2013, the following presentation gives an overview of the digital landscape of Singapore together with details on digital habits of the Singaporeans, and comparisons with other countries of Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific.

In 2013, Singapore counted about 4 million Internet users in a population of 5.350 millions, making for a Internet penetration of 86%. The e-commerce market was estimated at 3.08 Billion USD and the mobile commerce at 1.2 Billion USD.

In 2012, the penetration of digital devices in Singapore were:

  • Desktop PC: 79%
  • Laptop: 93%
  • Smartphone: 104%
  • Tablet 59%

In 2011, Singaporeans were the most frequent users of Internet in Southeast Asia, with 80% of people using Internet every day on all kinds of devices. They were also the first users of both free and paying mobile applications.

These numbers and the population’s habit of using digital technologies on a regular basis, greatly help e-commerce actors and the development of a robust startup ecosystem.

Key digital habits of Singaporeans


  • In 2012, Singapore was ranked 8th for Internet penetration worldwide, and 4th in Asia.
  • In 2013, 15 to 34 years old were the most engaged users.
  • In terms of digital activities, Singaporeans are primarily using Internet for:
    • emails
    • news
    • search information
    • Instant Messaging – IM
    • social networks
  • Singaporeans are using Internet at the same time as they are watching TV or, less frequently, listening to the radio.
  • Singaporeans are also fairly active when it comes to video streaming.

Social Media

  • Singaporeans are influenced by Social Networking Sites (SNS) in their purchasing decisions: 42% research products on SNS, 51.2% make a decision through SNS, and they use forums.
  • In 2013, the number of Singaporeans using the main social networks were:
    • YouTube: 4.25 Million users
    • Facebook: 3.50 M
    • Twitter: 2.79 M
    • LinkedIn: 522 000
    • Pinterest: 197 000

E-commerce and M-commerce

  • Mobile commerce represented about 26% of E-commerce in2012.
  • The evolutions of E-commerce and M-commerce between 2012 and 2013 were:
    • E-commerce: 3.1 Billion USD in 2012, 4.4 Billion USD in 2013 (+29%)
    • M-commerce: 812 Million USD in 2012, 1.3 Billion USD in 2013 (+37%)
  • In terms of product types bought online, in 2012 the distribution of online toal sales of 3.1 Billion USD was:
    • Traveling and booking: 307 Million USD – 28%
    • Fashion and Beauty: 146 M – 13%
    • Entertainment and Lifestyle: 143 M – 13%
    • IT and electronics: 117 M – 11%
    • General insurance: 83 M – 8%
    • Gifts and collectibles: 75 M – 7%
    • Others: 229 M – 20%
  • In 2012, 37,4% of total online sales (420 Million USD) were made on local platforms. The top e-commerce sites were:
    • Reebonz
    • Kwerkee
    • RedMart
    • Bellabox
    • OpenTrolley
  • Singaporean shop on overseas website (62.6% of sales) primarily because of:
    • unavailability
    • greater choice
    • less expensive
    • better discount
    • strong Singaporean Dollar
  • In 2012, the most popular foreign e-commerce website were:
    • Amazon (US): 23% of total sales
    • Qoo10 (South Korea): 14.7% of total sales
  • With the large mobile penetration, many online sellers are involved in mobile marketing, and 36% of mobile marketers have successfully implemented a mobile marketing campaign.

For more information on e-commerce in the region, check our Overview of E-commerce in Southeast Asia.

Presentation published in December 2013 by L’Atelier BNP Paribas

6 Replies to “Digital behaviors and habits in Singapore”

  1. Hello, is there a similar article with insights from 2014/2015? A more recent article?

    Thanks a lot

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