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Consistency & reliability key for SG millennials for buying products

Millennial consumers in Singapore appear to prize consistency and reliability when making buying decisions, a survey by ICLP found.

In a survey of close to 300 millennials in Singapore, 74 per cent said they would buy more if their favourite retailers’ products were more consistent and reliable, placing this as the top factor driving more purchases. Meanwhile, 73 per cent would buy more if retailers rewarded them better, and 67 per cent would do so if retailers better understood their particular needs and requirements.

The findings about this next generation of shoppers come at a time when Singapore’s retail sector is pursuing the Retail Industry Transformation Map – cited just last week as a key pillar in Singapore’s drive towards the Future Economy. Underlining the fact that millennial shoppers do not merely seek out novelty, the survey findings suggest that any innovation in the industry should be directed towards greater consistency and reliability, as well as better rewards, and more thoughtful personalization.

“Even as our economy evolves alongside a new generation, our findings about Singaporean millennials reiterate the fact that retail innovation is not just about creating the next trendy concept or offering. There are fundamental factors like consistency and reliability, rewards, and personalisation that that make shoppers feel truly special and will continue to form the foundation of a sustained relationship with brands,” said Bruno Tay, Country Manager of the global loyalty marketing agency ICLP, which conducted the survey as part of an international study across nine markets.

Compared to generations born before 1980, more of Singapore’s millennials also place an emphasis on personal recognition by brands and retailers – a fact that likely reflects the impact of digital technology in shaping expectations of smarter data-driven propositions. 32 per cent of millennial shoppers now consider it important for retailers to make relevant recommendations that are specifically tailored to their interests, while only 20 per cent of the older shoppers do. Similarly, 28 per cent of millennial shoppers think it is important for brands to remember their shopping, payment, and delivery preferences – versus only 16 per cent of the older shoppers who do.

The survey seeks to shed light on Singaporean consumers’ behavior and retail experience by modelling the brand relationships after the psychology of individual relationships with friends and romantic partners. Singaporean consumers were asked to rate their retail experience with brands on seven core relationship criteria, namely recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication. These were then mapped onto a model based on Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Lovei, in partnership with an expert on relationship dynamics Prof Ron Rogge at the University of Rochester in the United States.

In that regard, most millennials in Singapore do not see themselves as being devoted to their favourite brands, with only 3 per cent falling under this category. 28 per cent view their relationship with brands as casual, while 23 per cent merely like the brands without a strong element of commitment. Such patterns reflect a broadly transactional outlook on brand relationships; against the backdrop of Singapore’s uncertain retail landscape, this lack of emotional commitment underlines the urgency to engage consumers more deeply.

“What the millennial consumers feel today gives us a glimpse of the future of retail in Singapore. The current lack of emotional engagement, coupled with the emphasis on consistency and personalisation, points to fundamental gaps that brands and retailers need to fill. It calls for innovation that is purposeful and focused. For one, with the vast amount of data available today, they ought to step up their digital capabilities, so they can understand and recognise every consumer as an individual, nurture each relationship, and inspire devotion,” Mr Tay added.