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Singaporeans not as willing to spend more on sustainable products: e-Conomy SEA report

Image, to illustrate the story on the results of the e-Conomy SEA report, shows the Gardens By The Bay against the Singapore skyline, including building such as the Singapore Flyer and Ritz Carlton.
Singaporeans are not as willing to spend more on sustainable products and services, compared to consumers in other Southeast Asian countries surveyed in the e-Conomy SEA 2022 report. (PHOTO: Getty)

SINGAPORE – When compared to residents of the other five Southeast Asia countries in the e-Conomy SEA report this year, Singapore consumers are the least willing to spend on sustainable products and services.

Only 32 per cent of Singaporean digital consumers surveyed in the e-Conomy SEA report – an annual study by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company – released on Thursday (27 October), are willing to spend five per cent more for a sustainable product or service. That's the lowest across other Southeast Asia countries – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – included in the study.

Overall, while some 40 per cent of Southeast Asia consumers say they care about sustainability, only about three to 15 per cent are acting on their intentions by purchasing sustainable foods, the report said.

This comes even as interest in sustainability is rising in the region.

Interest in sustainability among Singaporeans in particular, the report said, has grown 2.8 times in two years.

The report also found that while 23 per cent of Singapore consumers considered sustainability a top criteria when making a packaged food purchase, just 14 per cent would act on their intentions. "However, Singapore makes up the smallest say-do gap at 9 per cent compared to the rest of Southeast Asia," the report said.

Snapshot of Singapore takeaways from the e-Conomy SEA 2022 report. (PHOTO: Google)
Snapshot of Singapore takeaways from the e-Conomy SEA 2022 report. (PHOTO: Google)

Singapore attracts most investment

Singapore is the "hottest investment country in the region", the report said.

The digital economy in Singapore is expected to grow by 22 per cent to reach US$18 billion this year, with the potential to reach approximately US$30 billion in 2025.

One of the key drivers of Gross Market Value (GMV) growth is e-commerce, which is expected to hit some US$11 billion in 2025.

“As an advanced country, Singapore is well-placed to play a leading role in the growth of Southeast Asia's digital economy and ESG adoption for investors, consumers, businesses and governments. Sustainability is the responsibility of all stakeholders...," said Stephanie Davies, vice-president, Google Southeast Asia.

Growth slowing in Southeast Asia's Internet economy

Even though Southeast Asia's digital economy is approaching US$200 billion in GMV in 2022 – three years earlier than initially forecast in 2016, the companies said – growth is slowing.

Online spending in the region will rise about 20 per cent this year, the report forecasted, down from 38 per cent the year before. As a whole, the internet economy in the region is estimated to reach US$330 billion by 2025, down from the previously forecasted target of US$363 billion.

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