On Monday, Google launched its Asia-Pacific financial dashboard sharing how consumers in 10 countries across Asia-Pacific have searched for financial products over the last year, and the implications for financial companies.
Michael Yue, Industry Head for Banking and Financial Services, Google Singapore shared, “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.”
Key Findings for Singapore
Singaporeans know what they want: Two in three conduct their searches with a brand in mind
Singaporeans are savvy about their finances and keenly aware of movements in the financial sectors. Mobile search growth for financial products is increasing by 28% year-on-year. Notably, two in three Singaporeans conduct their searches with a brand in mind when searching for financial products. Searches peaked in May to June 2016 with key interest in the Euro following the Brexit announcement; the Digibank launch by DBS; and the launch of new retail bonds by Oxley and Hyflux.
This surge in searches was followed by a slump caused by a large drop in the Dow Jones Index in August.
Insurance emerges top in financial searches
Top financial searches revealed that Singaporeans are always planning for the future and on the lookout for various insurance plans to protect themselves. Eight of the top 10 queries were about insurance policies ranging from health, to business, housing and cars; while Singaporeans also showed interest in home equity loans and how to start investing.
The top ten search terms are:
- How to avoid pitfalls in getting home equity loans
- What is short term health insurance
- How much does house insurance cost per month
- How much does insurance cost for a business
- How much does renters insurance cost
- How to sell insurance
- How to make car insurance cheaper
- How much is public liability insurance
- Why life insurance is important for future success
- How to start investing in Singapore
This interest in insurance was also evident in the rise in the number of finance-related searches in November following the launch of insurance company Sompo, the launch of FWD’s online life insurance policy, and SingSaver – a financial comparison site in Singapore.
Consumer insights by sector
Based on 2016 searches, here are the key trends in various financial sectors :
- Local banks command top-of-mind recall: General banking searches are mostly related to online banking, showing Singaporeans’ preference for more e-services. Search results show a preference for local banks with DBS commanding the most search volume, followed by OCBC, POSB and UOB.
- Fueling the love for travel: With the average Singaporean owning six credit cards, consumers are always on the look out for the best credit card that meets their need. Searches for 2016 showed that miles-based benefits are the most sought after feature for credit cards with 42% of same-session searches related to Travel.
- Business and individual loans: General, Home and Personal Loans lead the category while the interest for Business Loans is growing the fastest.
- Consumers want assurance while abroad: Singaporeans turn to search not only to find the best credit card they can travel with but also to seek out the best travel insurance with more than 60% of insurance searches in 2016 focused on travel.
- Convenience of online purchase: With 72% of online Singaporeans buying their travel insurance online, brands need to ensure consumers can discover and purchase their offerings easily.
- Singaporeans seek opportunities to grow their money – Across the top five financials hubs globally (London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong), Singapore is responsible for 13% of the investment-related searches driven by mobile activity and key categories – surpassing searches generated from Hong Kong.
- Growing interest in wealth management – Singaporeans are always thinking about how to invest and manage their wealth, even when on the go. Searches for 2016 show that mobile searches for wealth management is growing at 41% year-on-year.
- Contribution to Investments Searches – What are they looking to invest? Top five investment categories in Singapore include Forex and Currencies; Securities; Retirement investments; Commodities and Brokerages.
Reaching customers by going mobile
With smartphone penetration rate at 91%, Singaporeans have easy access to the Internet and have made it a one-stop platform to gather information and plan their finances.
Michael added, “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.”