SINGAPORE - Media
OutReach - 20 September 2021 - With the government gradually
easing border restrictions under COVID-19, businesses have been looking at new
ways to capture opportunities in the local market over the course of the
pandemic in order to generate positive momentum. Chinese expats in Singapore
form a significant demographic that brands have been eyeing to fuel sales
growth in the year of pandemic recovery. To provide perspective on this growing
expatriate community that is shaping the country's consumer market, leading AI
marketing platform EternityX
today announced a survey that looks at the spending and investment habits of
Chinese expats in Singapore to better understand their potential to contribute
to the country's economy.
Mass Affluent Chinese
Expats Wielding Strong Purchasing Power Potential
The Singapore economy achieved 14.7% year-on-year growth in the
second quarter this year
while the country was undergoing Phase 1 of reopening. "This is encouraging,
despite the borders remaining closed," said Richard Andrew, Southeast Asia and Australia Managing Director of
EternityX. "During the lockdown, we've seen brands shifting their focus to
new consumer demographics within the territory, and Chinese expats are believed
to be an important segment to aid consumption growth, now and into the future."
The Chinese expat community in Singapore has contributed to the
country's economy over the years. According to EternityX data, 71% of the
respondents hold Bachelor's degrees or above. 32% of the surveyed are
considered 'affluent' as they make over SGD 160,000 annual household income -
at least 45% higher than the median Singapore household income.
The survey also found that most Chinese expats have been easing back
into their pre-pandemic life; 63% of respondents said that they have been
spending more this year than they had in 2020.
Affluent Chinese Expats' Unique Shopping and Investing
habits, and Their Potential for Businesses
52% of the affluent respondents
noted that they have spent an average of more than SGD 1,000 per month on
luxury or beauty goods, 19% of which even spent an average of more than SGD
5,000 - a sum typically equivalent to buying a small shoulder bag from a luxury
fashion house or a diamond ring from a high-end jeweller.
Regardless of the complicated
cross-border logistics, more affluent Chinese expats prefer shopping on Chinese
online marketplaces (including JD.com, Tmall, Taobao, and Pinduoduo) rather
than local and regional ones (including Shopee and Lazada).
Over three-quarters of the
affluent agreed that digital resources, including search engines (80%) and
social media (73%), play important roles when they make investment decisions.
33% of the affluent Chinese
expats plan on saving and investing 16% to 30% of their annual income, with
stocks and bonds, insurance, and real estates being the top 3 investment
options, indicating great untapped opportunities for financial institutions.
While over 71% of the
respondents have lived in Singapore for over 10 years, Chinese expats still
heavily utilise Chinese media platforms, with iQiyi, Douyin and Sina being the
most influential platforms when it comes to their spending decisions; while WeChat,
Toutiao and Sina News are their primary Chinese media channels for breaking
Interestingly, although many of
the respondents speak English at home, 77% still tend to purchase brands which
advertise in Chinese on a Chinese media channel. More EternityX data reveals
that campaigns running on Chinese digital platforms in simplified Chinese drive
higher engagement and generate more leads with Chinese expats living overseas.
This shows the power of communicating in a customer's native language and the
diversity of the platforms that can provide enhanced interaction with Chinese
On the note of Chinese
expats' spending habits, Richard Andrew commented, "Data has told us that it
can take up to 30 steps for a customer to make their purchase decision; the
more expensive the products, the more steps the customers need. This survey
reveals the unique ways in which Chinese expats spend their disposable income
and consume media, which sheds light on how brands and businesses should tailor
a personalised approach that best connects with their target customers.
Demographics matter and therefore brands should embrace technology and
innovative digital solutions that precisely target one of Singapore's
wealthiest segments [Chinese expats] in order to maximise the effectiveness of
EternityX shared key tips for
brands to unlock business potential within the Chinese expat market:
Make sure you put yourselves in their shoes: A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work with Chinese Expats,
especially considering their visual mindset. Focus your campaign on
storytelling with high-quality and eye-catching visuals plus creative,
attractive and useful content. Include a relevant call-to-action and landing
page. Most importantly, all touchpoints in the campaign have to be in
The more touchpoints, the merrier: Don't
limit your media plan to just the most popular apps. EternityX data shows that
Chinese Expats in Singapore access well over 50 different types of apps and
media on average, including video, social, news, lifestyle and gaming.
Marketers should include a variety of channels in your media plan, on top of
the most high-profile Chinese publications and platforms.
Utilise the latest target segmentation tools: Leveraging more layers of
data, such as spending power and keywords, and the latest AI and ML technology
can help brands precisely identify and reach the target audience.
Leverage opportunities for targeted and personalised offers on
Chinese media platforms: Consumers today value
personalisation, and brands who use data-driven campaigns to tailor content to
consumers are seeing results. With careful execution, exclusive deals or
campaigns for Chinese expats living in Hong Kong will attract this specific
consumer group. Targeted and personalised offerings on Chinese media platforms
can further drive higher engagement rates with Chinese expats.
 August 2021, Singapore Ministry of Trade
and Industry (link)
 February 2021, Singapore Department of