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CNY 2019: How Singaporeans are using search

Chinese New Year is one of the largest festive holidays in Singapore celebrated by the ethnic Chinese community who make up 76.1 per cent of Singapore population. New research has shown that 65 per cent of Singaporeans went online to prepare for this 15-day celebration last year, turning to Google Search and YouTube as main sources of information, inspiration and entertainment during this festive period.

Taking a closer look at consumers’ shopping patterns, online interest accelerated five weeks before Chinese New Year and peaked during the week itself, as users looked to Search and YouTube to make purchase decisions, do brand comparisons, search for beauty and food tutorials, and learn about festive traditions.

Source: Google internal data

“Chinese New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the Chinese calendar, and a time for Singaporeans to bond with their loved ones. By understanding what their audience needs early on, brands can thoughtfully build their presence on Search and YouTube and tailor their brand messages to the festive season to win the hearts of consumers,” said Stephanie Davis, Country Director for Google Singapore.

Singaporeans turned to Search and YouTube to :

Search for recipes. Chinese New Year is truly a time for feasting. Hosting reunion dinners with delectable dishes for family and friends is an annual tradition, and Singaporeans actively searched online for new recipes and cooking tricks, resulting in a 30 per cent increase in recipe searches in 2018. Chinese New Year is also a time to experiment, with 53 per cent of Singaporeans indicating that they were willing to try new brands during this period, proving that this is an optimum period for new entrants to promote their products.

Dress to impress. House visits make a huge part of the New Year festivities, and Singaporeans want to look their best. There was a 46 per cent increase in searches of e-commerce brands during this period as Singaporeans looked to refresh their wardrobe. They also turned to video content to complete their outfits, with “nail” and “hair care” categories trending during Chinese New Year on YouTube, resulting in a 41 per cent and 32 per cent increase in watch time respectively, compared to the same period last year.

Get entertained and keep up with traditions. Singaporeans were hungry for content on YouTube as watching videos grew to become a communal activity among family and friends. Local viewers chalked up close to 2 million hours of YouTube watch time on Chinese New Year content in 2018. Interestingly, watch time for Astrology content went up by 51 per cent as Singaporeans were eager to see if their stars aligned for the new year, while watch time for Chinese music videos also increased by 16 per cent as they hummed along to fresh and familiar tunes.

Google shared some tips for marketers to maximise this festive season:

Tap into the excitement early. The lead up to the Chinese New Year is a crucial period as Singaporeans are looking online to plan and prepare. Based on 2018’s observations, brands should start their campaigns early to catch the attention of local consumers. Searches for supermarket discounts also doubled during Chinese New Year in 2018, making this the best time to offer discounts or cashback for Chinese New Year purchases.

Influence offline purchases online. While it is true that Singaporeans turn to the Internet throughout the festival, more than 90 per cent of all retail sales are still done offline. Brands can consider using Google Shopping Ads to promote the products they sell, boost traffic to their website or local store, and find better qualified leads by putting product images, prices, and their business name in front of people searching on Google.

Engage with entertaining and emotional stories. In 2018, emotional and entertaining ads not only attracted the most views on average, but also received the highest engagements in terms of likes and shares on YouTube. Emotional appeal ads also proved to be highly effective as they generated millions of views.