Singaporean consumers feel that local brands value them more (26%) as opposed to international brands (19%) according to a study by ICLP.
The study interviewed 750 Singaporean consumers of different age groups, with 293 classified as millennial consumers. Consumers were asked to rate their retail experience with brands on seven core criteria – recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication.
Singaporeans expect local brands to show appreciation for regular patronage (32%), while 35% expect the same of international brands. Local brands actual performance is better at winning the hearts of Singaporeans than international brands.
Local brands appear to be better at meeting consumer expectations by listening, with Singaporean consumers expectations (22%) and reality (20%) closely matching. Compared to Singaporean consumers’ expectations for international brands to listen (26%) and the actual reality (19%) present a larger gap of 7%.
The Singapore retail environment continues to be difficult, with demanding consumers who tend to see brands in a transactional light. Only 4% of Singaporeans consider themselves in a ‘devoted’ relationship with local brands, compared to only 2% with global brands. The majority do not show signs of loyalty or potential for advocacy.
This presents a challenge in today’s digital era, as consumers are exposed to an abundance of brands, making them less inclined to pledge their allegiance to just one.
“In this digital era, brands need to communicate with consumers, to listen to what they want. On this scale, local brands appear to fare better because of their deeper resonance, but this could also be because global brands have not seized the opportunity to establish stronger local relevance with customers in their product offerings, communications, and campaigns,” said Mr Bruno Tay, country manager, ICLP.
Local brands included in this study includes NTUC FairPrice, Robinsons and Cold Storage, while international brands includes Uniqlo, ZARA and G2000. Local brands have been found wanting in terms of long-standing and regular customer recognition, with a 12% gap between expectation and reality. International brands faced the same issue with the same 12% gap. Both international and local brands have the same 7% shortfall between expectations and reality in utilising customers’ personal data.
“We’ve observed that despite the international brands’ global recognition and resources, they are not seen to be leveraging those resources any better than local retailers in recognising individual consumers for their loyalty,” said Tay, “Both local and international brands need to make better use of the data they are collecting from customers – by finding ways to lend a personal touch to each customer and offering tailored promotions and services that lie within the appropriate contexts in the customer journey.”
“We are seeing the emergence of true “local heroes” –home grown brands that are outperforming renowned international brands in listening to customers and making them feel valued. This is encouraging for homegrown brands, but there is still considerable room for creative enhancements in the way brands nurture loyalty and their relationships with Singaporean consumers,” he added.