Singapore — A new government survey is tracking changes in the spending patterns of Singaporeans, discovering that while many in the country are spending less on personal items such as shoes and clothes, expenditures for travelling are going up.
A recent survey by the Department of Statistics showed that compared to 5 years ago, families today are spending more on travel. The latest Household Expenditure Survey, which is conducted every five years, is compiled according to data gathered in 2017 and 2018 from households of Singaporeans and permanent residents.
From data collected in 2012/2013, the average monthly expense for overseas travel was $260, but in the latest survey, this has increased to $340, partly because budget and full-service airlines have made travelling overseas more affordable.
The Straits Times (ST) quotes the director of public relations and communications for Dynasty Travel, Alicia Seah, as saying that travel is becoming more perceived as part of a lifestyle instead of being a luxury and that families have taken spur-of-the-moment trips during long weekends.
The Household Expenditure Survey also shows that Singaporeans spend more within Asia, in Australia and New Zealand, but not so much in the United States or Canada. Ms Seah says that because people can now go shopping online, people who used to go to North America for shopping now have less incentive to do so.
Another industry insider told ST that the three highest-ranked destinations in Asia for Singaporeans are Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, with Japan being a favourite of many.
Meanwhile, the same survey shows that Singaporeans have been spending less on shoes and clothes compared to data gathered five years ago
Back then, Singaporeans spending averaged $160 per household per month on clothes and shoes and based on the data gathered from 2017 to 2018, that amount has fallen to $120 a month.
The survey says, “Notably, clothing and footwear experienced the largest decline in expenditure in percentage terms.”
However, expenses for accommodation services, food and health have gone up, the survey also showed.
Experts in the retail industry say, however, the lowered expenses for clothing and footwear do not necessarily indicate that people are doing less shopping since both online shopping and fast fashions have given people more affordable options for purchasing their clothing and footwear needs.
ST quotes Dr Kapil R. Tuli, professor of marketing and director at the Singapore Management University’s Retail Centre of Excellence, as saying, “In the last 10 years, there have been a lot more fast-fashion options for consumers – brands such as Zara and Uniqlo offer pretty good designs at low prices.
These companies are very well-funded in terms of seed funding, so they don’t think twice about offering very good deals to customers.”
The survey shows that around 60 percent of households are now using online shopping, compared to just 31 percent five years ago. And while in 2012/2013 online spending on clothes and shoes was only at 4.4 percent, in the latest survey it now comprises the biggest share of online transactions, at 7.7 percent. / TISG
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