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A Socio Cultural Analysis of Singapore

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2988 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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1. Introduction

1.1 Singapore

Singapore is an island country which is one of the four Asian tiger countries. Singapore is regarded as one of the world’s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links and its per capita GDP is equal to leading nations of Europe. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn.html). According to the singstat.gov.sg, Singapore had the population of 4,987,600 people in 2009 and 3,200,700 were Singapore citizen. The rest 2 million were other nationalities. These nationalities are Chinese, Indonesians, Indians, Malays, Vietnamese, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodians and so forth. These nationalities settle in Singapore for various purposes. Thus, Singapore is regarded as the multicultural country.

1.2 Socio-Cultural Analysis of Singapore

According to Geert Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions, following cultural dimension indexes are indentified.

Power distance index


Individualism index


Masculinity index


Uncertainty avoidance index


Long-term orientation index


Table1. Five cultural dimensions of Singapore

Therefore, Singapore is collectivism country due to the individualism index of 20. As it is a high collectivism society, less powerful number of people accepts the unequal power distribution among the family or organization which is common in high collectivism society. Masculinity index of 48 proves both female and males in Singapore have equal opportunity for their lives. The most interesting index is uncertainty avoidance index which is 8. Therefore, Singaporeans are regarded as risk takers who prefer changes and challenges. As for the long term orientation index, Singapore has the index of 48 which is normal, neither long-term nor short-term oriented.

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In order to relate, Geert Hofstede five cultural dimension indexes and the impact on marketing, following facts are indentified. Firstly, as power distance index of Singapore is 74 which is high, therefore, marketing luxury items, global brands, high quality and innovative products works in Singapore as in high power distance culture, one social status must be clear to be respected by others. Marketing products in Singapore should focus on needs of a society, family and group rather than individual due to the individualism index of 20. Moreover, products in Singapore should be continuously innovative, value added and features are to be improved as the uncertainty avoidance is very low, 8. As Singapore is normal in long/short term orientation index, products can be either long term or short term purposes. Similarly, masculinity index of Singapore is 48 that mean balance in values of both masculinity and femininity. From the marketing perspective, products that are marketed to masculine culture should be status products as masculinity refers to achievement, success and recognition.

1.3 Economic Analysis

Economy of Singapore depends heavily on exports, which are consumer electronics and information technology products. Singapore practised successful free market economy with corruption free environment. Per-capita GDP of Singapore is equivalent to that of four largest West-European countries (www.nationmaster.com). GDP per capita of Singapore in 2009 was approximately 50,300 USD. In 2008 and 2007, it was 52,200 USD and 52,300 USD respectively according to CIA world facts book. Based on the World Bank’s doing business 2010 and 2009 report, Singapore is ranked #1 in ease of doing business. Moreover, Singapore is also ranked #1 in employing workers and trading across borders. As for the closing business Singapore is ranked #2. As for the low corruption rate, Singapore is ranked #1 in Asia and #4 in the world.

In order to increase the growth of Singapore’s economy, government decided to create the two integrated resorts with casino licenses. Marina Bay Sands was awarded the first license which is a more business focused integrated resort. Second license was awarded to Resorts world at Sentosa, a family oriented integrated resort. These integrated resorts are expected to produce 35,000 jobs. The Singapore government attracts large scale of foreign investment by enforcing two policies which are pro-foreign investment and export-oriented. According to economywatch.com, United States is the leading investor in Singapore. There are a number of factors influences the economic development of Singapore. The main reason is due to the increasing demand of electronic products around the world which benefits the Singapore as it is the major producer of electronic goods. Other industries contributed in economic growth of Singapore are pharmaceuticals, financial services and manufacturing.The

2. Product

According to socio-cultural analysis using by Geert Hofstede five cultural dimension model, furniture products made of teak are decided to market Singapore. These products are manufactured by Myanmar Teak Company limited is using precious teaks from Myanmar. Most of the furniture in Singapore is made of leathers, fibre, iron, plastics, recycled woods and so forth. Although there is some furniture made from wood, it is very difficult to find furniture made of teak.

2.1 Relative Advantage

Furniture made from teak is usually expensive and regarded as luxury furniture because teaks are expensive as it takes decades to get teak trees and its advantages. Furniture made from teak is durable, strong, and resistant to moisture, fire, acid and alkalis. Moreover, it is highly resistant from rotting, sun, rain, frost or snow. Once it is bought, it can be used for many decades.

Furniture made of teak is easy to clean from spilled drinks and food while others are hard to remove the stains. Although the natural colour of the teak is golden brown, it can be changed to reddish brown or dark brown. Therefore, the colour of the teak is easy to alter and colour will sustain for a long time. Another advantage of teak is producing natural oils that prevent termites and wood damaging insects. This natural oil maintains the solidness of the wood, life span and strength which therefore unnecessary for the user to apply chemicals. Resistant to weathers, rotting and wood damaging insects make teak furniture to be ageless. Teak is easy to shape and craft.

2.2 Compatibility

Teak furniture is compatible for Singapore, according to high power distance index (74) of Hofstede. Having teak furniture show the high status and wealth of that person comparing to other furniture made of fibre, plastic, and recycled woods. In Singapore, decorating home with arts, sculptures, furniture, lighting and latest electronic products are found in house of wealthy people. Teak furniture is mainly used in International hotels, high-class restaurants, and furniture of international companies especially for meeting tables. International hotels and high-class restaurants have furniture made of teak because westerners and Europeans value teak furniture and handicraft products.

2.3 Trialability

Furniture showrooms in Singapore allow customers to try before purchase. For example, customer can sit on the couch or sofa to test the comfort of the products. In Singapore, furniture showrooms are decorated with its product. Decorating furniture show rooms with its products enable customers to test the product, understand the convenience of the product, and get the idea how products can be designed in particular location. For example, in IKEA all furniture is shown to try and test before the purchase. Customers are allowed to use the tables, sit on chairs and sofa and lie on bed.

3. The Market

3.1 Geographical Region

Singapore is located at the South East Asia which is surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore is also known as an island Nation which is 3.5 times size of the Washington DC according to nationmaster.com. It has total area of 692.7 km that had a population of 4,987,600 people in 2009. Singapore has smaller islands which are Jurong, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin, and Sentosa. Among them, Sentosa is the largest one. Highest point of Singapore is Bukit Timah which is 166m above sea level whereas the lowest point is Singapore Strait 0m which is a major shipping route of South East Asia. In Singapore, climate is hot, tropical, humid and rainy. There are two distinct monsoon seasons which are North-eastern monsoon starting from December to March and South-western monsoon takes June to September.

3.2 Transportation

Public transportation is the major source of transportation heavily used by people for daily purposes. Public transportation includes MRT, LRT, and Buses. SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is Singapore’s multi-modal transport service provider offering integrated island-wide transport services including trains, buses, and taxis. SBS transit started its operation in 2003 which is North East Line, a highly advanced fully automated new underground heavy rail system. This NEL had a daily user of 325,433 in 2009 which is 20 kilometers long and include 16 stations from punggol to Harborfront.

According to data of Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group Pte Ltd, number of aircraft arrivals and departures were 120,184 and 120176 respectively for both passengers and parcel/mail. Aircraft is major transportation for arriving and departing Singapore, according to data of passenger arrival/departure by using aircraft. In year 2009, passenger data of arrival and departure was recorded as 18,026,000 passengers’ arrival and 18,063,000 departures. As for the parcel/mail incoming and outgoing by aircraft in 2009 were 12113 and 14945 tonnes.

By looking at the Data of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, ships are the major source of transporting cargos and containers. According to data, in 2009, 130575 vessels arrived in Singapore by shipping 1784669(000) giga tonne. Air cargos were mainly used by North East Asian Countries due to discharged tonnes of 377,184 in year 2009. These North East Asian Countries include China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Total air cargo discharged tonnes by various countries and regions in 2009 were 846,671.

Table1. Describes the number of population using vehicles in 2007-2009

Table.1 the number population used of vehicles in year 2007, 2008 and 2009 were as follows








Rental Cars












Motor Cycles & Scooter




Goods & Other Vehicles








Adopted from Land transport Authority

3.3 Communication

There were 1.857 million fixed telephone users in 2008 whereas 6.375 million users were mobile cellular users. Presently, there are three communication service providers that are SingTel, Star hub and M1. 3G wireless service was launched in February 2005. As for the internet service, most of the people use broad band internet service provided by three internet service providers. According to data of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, Media Development Authority and Singapore Post which were collected at April 2010, there were 2046.7(‘000) of broadband internet users including xDSL, cable modems, leased line internet and other broadband internet access methods. Dial-up internet users were only 75.1(‘000) users. As for the mobile phone users for both 3G and 2G, there were 6920.2(‘000) users while the fixed mobile users were unknown. There is Sing post postal service which delivers mails and parcels to most of the countries around the world.

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4. Consumer Buying Habits

4.1 Product use pattern

In Singapore, furniture is one of the essential products for buildings. People use furniture for daily purposes. Furniture is essentially indeed products in Singapore due to the increasing number of residents, international students, employees from around the world, Singapore requires more housings, schools and universities, hotels and restaurants. Therefore, furniture is required for those housings, universities, schools, hotels and restaurants. In Singapore, 76.8% are Chinese according to nationmaster.com. Chinese usually value arts and handicraft. Moreover, Chinese buy new furniture for their houses after Chinese new-year because Chinese belief that if they can buy new products in this New Year and they believe that they will enable to buy in next New Year.

4.2 Product preference

In general, Singapore prefers light, small and cheap furniture because most of the Singaporean lives in condominium and flats. As for the restaurants and international hotels, teak furniture is preferred most, in order to show their status and position. Tastes and preferences can vary among customers.

4.3 Shopping Habits

According to the study of (Neilson, 2009) Singapore had changed shopping habits due to current financial crisis. This study shows that 70 percent of the consumer spent only on essential products. However, latest Nielsen Global consumer index shows that Global consumer index of Singapore in second quarter of 2010 increased to index of 112 that is nearly as 114 in third-quarter of 2007. Therefore, percentage of consumers who believed that Singapore was in recession had declined from 28 percent to 17 percent in Q2 2010. According to the survey conducted in 2006 to 22,000 internet users in 42 markets, it was revealed that 74% of consumers admitted that shopping as form of entertainment. Similarly, in Singapore shopping was considered as a form of entertainment due to nine out of 10 respondents’ replies. 7% of Singaporean went shopping twice a week or more often although others went shopping with lesser extent. 22% of Singaporeans did it weekly while 32 percent shopped once a month. 29% shopped more than once a month and 10 percent never shopped.

Moreover, Singapore was the only Asian country which made it through to the global top 10 which agreed with the therapeutic effect of clothes shopping. According to the data, following pie chart is identified.

Source: adopted form www.acnielsen.com.sg/news/20060719.shtml

5. Distribution of the product

In Singapore, furniture can be bought from either from retailers or manufacturers. Some Furniture manufacturers place products both on retail shop while others sell by own showrooms. Furthermore, there are countless of small furniture shops and showrooms in Singapore. The largest furniture retail store in Singapore is IKEA which is followed by Courts.

6. Advertising and promotion

As for the advertising, if it is to reach international hotels and restaurants, sending product catalog is the best way to get attention. Advertising on television by targeting on restaurants and international hotel is also considered effective way of advertising. In advertising on television by showing elegant and modernized teak furniture can attract the attention of high-class customer.

Similarly, as for the advertising high class society, same media can be used to attract customers. Direct marketing can be also used to for both high-class society and hotels and restaurants. Moreover, participating in furniture shows held by Singapore Furniture Industry Council will also draw the attention of respective customer. According to (Russell, 2006) Singapore market drew 17,838 visitors from 112 countries which was the largest ever.

Additionally, according to the press release of international furniture fair Singapore, the fair held in March 2010 attracted the 17,277 visitors from 112 countries. This fair was held for 4days from 9 to 12 March 2010.

In Singapore, furniture is discounted by percentage in some seasons. Sales discount depends on furniture. Some furniture may be discounted 20% while others are discounted 10% only.

7. Compare and contrast with competitor’s products

7.1 competitor’s products

Mozaic is a Singapore brand that is integrated by successful Singapore furniture companies which satisfy the needs and wants of customers by providing specially crafted products. Combination of West and East business practices, designs, availability of resources, Singapore Mozaic fulfils the satisfaction of customer around the world.

Wholesale Teak Company manufactures furniture with highest quality. Wholesale teak company furniture includes teak furniture, resort furniture and antique furniture of Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, classic French, classic English, Italy sofa and Italy furniture. Wholesale Teak Company have achieved the following reputations, the best whole sale teak furniture, antique furniture, classic furniture, Italy sofa and Italy furniture specialist.











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