Singapore Online Landscape update (part 2)

In 2007, i wrote “10 things about Singapore Online Landscape” to serve as a guide for those who are new in Singapore and would like to have an overview of the Online environment.
At that time, i used publicly available data in 2006, which was outdated so i intend to give a brief update again here.

Please note that all the data below are from Statistics Singapore, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Hitwise and comScore unless otherwise stated.

1. Singapore Computer and Internet penetration rate

singapore individual computer and internet usage

As you can see from the above table, there was a big increase in the penetration rate in 2007, 68% compared to 59% in 2006. However, over the past 5-6 years, the penetration rate is fairly constant at around 60%.
It is a bit of a surprise to see that internet penetration rate for Singapore does not hit a higher mark provided the excellent infrastructure and low cost.

If you are interested in the absolute numbers, as of mid 2008, Singapore had about 4.8 million people including citizens, permanent residents and foreign workers (from C level to blue color).
So that works out to be about 2.9 million internet users.

It would be even more meaningful to start comparing Singapore and other countries in the region: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Due to lack of official data, i use figures from Internet World Stats site. While being the unofficial source, this would be enough to show relative comparison.

Country Penetration Rate Internet Users (million)
Singapore 58.60% 2.7
Malaysia 59.00% 14.9
Thailand 20.50% 13.4
Philippines 15.10% 14
Indonesia 10.50% 25
Vietnam 23.40% 20.1

Indonesia has the lowest penetration rate yet highest number of internet users due to the enormous size of the population compared to other ASEAN countries.

2. Household access to Internet

Singapore household access to internet

The above stats couples with the fact that Singapore household income (after inflation) grew substantially in 2008 (more than 10% on average) promise a stronger household access to Internet rate in 2009.

3. Household broadband penetration rate

singapore household broadband penetration 2003-2007

The Broadband penetration rate has increased 133% over a five year period from 2003-2007!
As for Vietnam, from VNNIC, total broadband subscribers is around 2.4 millions, which is comparable to Singapore in absolute numbers but far behind in terms of percentage.

4. What Singaporeans and residents do when they are online?

Online shopping Rate 2003 – 2007

singapore online shopping rate 2003-2007

Percentage of Online Shopper by Age Group 2003 – 2007

singapore online shopping rate by age group 2003-2007

Just to put a little context behind the figures, the below table is for the US market from U.S Census Bureau

Total Internet users (percent)
Send or read e-mail 56
Use a search engine to find information 49
Get news online 39
Check weather reports and forecasts online 30
Look for news or information about politics 23
Do any banking online 21
Watch a video on a video-sharing site 16
Use a social networking site 13
Send instant messages 13
Visit a local, state or federal government web site 13
Get financial information online 10
Buy a product online 6
Look online for info about a job 6
Use online classified ads or sites like Craig’s List 6
Create or work on your own online journal or blog 5
Buy or make a reservation for travel 4
Rate a product, service, or person 4
Participate in an online auction 3
Download a podcast so you can listen to it or view it later 3
Make a donation to a charity online 1

While online shopping rate amongst internet users in Singapore is at a whopping 35% in 2007, the same figure for the US is only 6%. This, again, proves that Singapore is one of the most wired countries in the world. Individual Internet Usage by Age Group – Communication Activities in 2007

Singapore Individual Internet Usage by Age Group-Communication activities 2007

Individual Internet Usage by Age Group – Transactional Activities in 2007

Singapore Individual Internet Usage by Age Group-transactional activities 2007

Individual Internet Usage by Age Group – Working and Learning Activities in 2007

Singapore Individual Internet Usage by Age Group - working and learning activities 2007

5. Search Engine Usage

According to comScore, Singapore Internet users conducted 171 million searches in Sept 08 or an average of 105 searches per searcher in Sept 08. This works out to be 1.71 million unique searchers in Singapore during Sept 08.

Google is the number 1 search engine in Singapore, with 71.04% market share (Hitwise Dec 2008 based on volume of searches). Yahoo is a failing number 2 with 23.2% market share
Together, they command 94.24% of the total market share.
It’s clear that the search engine war in Singapore is over with Google & Yahoo are the two most popular engines.
I am actually very amazed to learn that Singapore Press Holdings even started to develop another local search engine not long ago with the code name RedNano.
I am looking forwards to seeing how the business model will pan out since the population in Singapore is so small and Google& Yahoo already have so much market share.

Well, that should be about all for this update about Singapore Online Landscape.
I am actually on holidays at the moment back in Hanoi but couldn’t stay away from the computer for so long!

Looking forwards to the US inauguration ceremony in the next 2 hours and the coming “Tet” (Chinese New Year) !


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