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Baby Boomers most loyal to local businesses in Singapore: Amex survey

Results of the Amex survey also showed that Singapore Gen Zs were the least emotionally tied to local businesses.

Asian family mother and teenage girl enjoy shopping in a store, illustrating a story on Singapore baby boomers and local businesses.
Baby Boomers in Singapore were the largest group in an Amex survey to say that they often shop at local businesses. (PHOTO: Getty) (primeimages via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A survey conducted by credit card and payments company American Express (AMEX) concluded that Baby Boomers (those aged 58 and above) were the most loyal to local businesses compared to other generations.

According to the study, released on Monday (31 July), some 95 per cent said that they often shop at local businesses while 43 per cent shop at international ones.

The study also showed that 55 per cent of Singapore consumers agree that supporting local businesses is very important, despite finding that over 90 per cent of the survey respondents said that they often shop at local businesses compared with 71 per cent for international businesses.

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The survey, titled the Shop Small Research for Singapore, is the fourth edition of its kind and was conducted online among 1,005 Singapore-based consumers aged 21 and above.

Generational differences

The survey also revealed notable generational differences, with 63 per cent of Baby Boomers agreeing that supporting local is very important compared to 44 per cent of Gen Zs (aged 21 to 25), 57 per cent of Millennials (aged 26 to 41), and 56 per cent of Gen Xs (aged 42 to 57).

Despite being less emotionally tied to local businesses, Gen Zs were more willing to pay a premium for local products compared to the Gen Xs and Baby Boomers, with 18 per cent agreeing compared with 9 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. However, the survey concluded that the Millennials were the most empathetic generation as they were the most willing to pay a premium for local businesses at 24 per cent.

Compared to other generations, Gen Zs were the highest to indicate that they would spend more in 2023 versus 2022 at 40 per cent. At 66 per cent, the 2023 dining spend for Gen Zs is also significantly higher than the 48 per cent average across all generations.

At 81 per cent, Baby Boomers were the largest group who said they feel proud or a warm sense of home when they see a Singapore brand overseas, while the smallest are Gen Zs at 67 per cent. Similarly, Baby Boomers were the most to feel concerned that Singapore's heritage businesses will disappear in the next decade at 61 per cent, while the lowest were Gen Zs at 52 per cent.

In terms of caring about sustainability, 36 per cent of Millennials agreed they would be more encouraged to support local businesses if they sell more sustainable products. This is in comparison to 27 per cent of Gen Zs, 26 per cent of Gen Xs and 30 per cent of Baby Boomers.

Among those who would give local businesses a second chance after a bad experience, 29 per cent listed the desire to support the livelihoods of the local community as the top reason. The highest among all generations are Gen Xs at 37 per cent.

Reasons for shopping local

The top reasons why the survey respondents choose to shop with local businesses over international ones are convenience (68 per cent), value for money (60 per cent), and a more personalised customer experience (33 per cent). Some 21 per cent of all respondents were also driven by their desire to maintain relationships with the staff or owners of these businesses.

Results of the survey also revealed that having peace of mind and comfort was the top sentiment when shopping at local businesses at 48 per cent. This is followed by a sense of community (40 per cent) and a sense of purpose by supporting the community (40 per cent).

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