Google launched the APAC financial dashboard, revealing financial search trends for 10 countries, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The dashboard segments the search volume into mobile searches as well, giving a picture of what financial questions countries are asking via smartphone.
This dashboard launches as search blooms for social networks.
While two in three Singaporeans conduct searches with brands in mind, Google said that mature markets tend to see consumers search for financial products with a brand in mind compared to emerging markets.
“More mature markets will have a skew towards a brand in mind, especially for geographically sparse location like India, where the presence of a retail bank is quite sparse, you’ll find less people searching with brand in mind, they’re still at the undecided phase,” said a Google spokesperson.
Insurance search terms emerged as top of mind for mobile searches across the region, where the term insurances pops up in the top 10 search terms for mobile. Loans were also a popular search term, as well as investing, as countries look to search to better understand financial products.
Zooming in on Singapore
“Financial literacy in Singapore is one of the highest in Asia and consumers like to be well-informed before making any decisions. Singaporeans care about financial planning and often turn to Search to help them understand financial products and investments. We hope the Asia-Pacific financial dashboard can serve as a useful tool for financial institutions to better serve their consumers based on their interests,” said Michael Yue, industry head for banking and financial services, Google Singapore.
This statement is reflected in Singaporeans’ searches, with searches in the Euro peaking with Brexit announcements, as well as local developments such as a retail bond by Singapore listed companies and new Digibank by local bank DBS. A slump in the Dow Jones Index in August 2016, also promoted a surge in searches according to Google.
Singaporeans appear to be planning for the future and on the lookout for insurance, with eight out of the top 10 queries were about insurance policies. The other two queries were about home equity loans and how to start investing in Singapore. The rise of interest in insurance could also be prompted by the launch of digital initiatives by insurance companies such as Sompo, FWD and a financial comparison site.
Travel insurance remains top of mind when Singaporeans search for insurance online, with 61% of searches for travel insurance, with 72% of online Singaporeans buying it online. Brand appears to be top of mind as well, as three in four Singaporeans search with a brand in mind.
“Two in three Singaporeans have a brand in mind when searching, and I don’t think this is surprising because we have very dominant brands here in the financial sector in Singapore. One of the key takeaways for new entrants, establishing your brand, especially in the digital sphere is very important, if you understand that users are looking this way,” said Yue.
Local banks too command top of mind recall, with the biggest local bank, DBS, commanding the most search volume, followed by OCBC, POSB and UOB. Credit cards also follow the theme of travel, with searches showing that miles-based benefits are most sought after feature for credit cards. In terms of loans, general, home and personal lead the category, while interest in business loans is growing the fastest.
Singaporeans punch above their weight in the investment category, contributing to 13% of all investment-related searches across the top five financial hubs (London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong), surpassing Hong Kong. Searches in wealth management have grown 41% year-on-year, with the top five investment categories forex and currencies, Securities, retirement investments, commodities and brokerages.
“70% of Singaporeans turn to their smartphones when they need information about a local business compared to 43% in the U.S. Using insights from Google’s APAC Financial Dashboard, financial brands can respond better to their consumers and engage them in more relevant ways, both online and offline,” said Yue.