The use of social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat has risen sharply in Singapore as the popularity of highly-visual channels continues to grow, according to Connected Life, the latest study of over 70,000 consumers from global research consultancy Kantar TNS. Developments in mobile technology are a clear driver, with the number of smartphone users in Asia Pacific now numbering over a billion. Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration across the region, at 86%, and increasingly powerful smartphone cameras giving connected users the opportunity to take and share photos instantly.


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Across Asia Pacific, connected consumers are expanding their use of social media beyond Facebook and testing newer, more visual channels. The number of connected consumers in Singapore using Instagram has been steadily growing year on year, up to 63% from 51% in 2014. This places it third in the regional rankings. Instagram has gained the widest traction in Malaysia, with 73% using the platform to share beautifully edited and curated pictures with followers, followed by Hong Kong with 70%.

Snapchat usage in Singapore is lower, but it is climbing quickly, doubling from 19% to 37% in the space of one year. Regionally, Snapchat has the highest penetration in Hong Kong, with almost half (46%) of internet users on the platform, followed by New Zealand at 39% and Malaysia at 37%.

While young people are the biggest social media users across all platforms, the rise of the ‘Insta-Gran’ is also gaining momentum; a third (33%) of internet users in Singapore aged 55 – 65 now use Instagram. The appeal of in-the-moment photo-sharing is also growing in this group with 10% of those aged 55 – 65 on Snapchat.

The rise of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to target and engage consumers. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape. The Connected Life results reveal that one in five (22%) connected consumers in Singapore ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a quarter (24%) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.

In addition, the Kantar TNS study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. Almost half (40%) online 16 – 24 year olds in Singapore say they trust what people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV adverts. Again, younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon begin referring to social media influencers for inspiration and information.

Subhashish Dasgupta, Head of Digital, Singapore at Kantar TNS, said:

“Curated platforms like Instagram not only provide brands with access to a global audience, they also deliver the ability to become part of consumer communities and reach people with similar interests. Leveraging these communities and developing their own specialised content allows brands to become a part of the user’s ecosystem and in doing so, develop a more meaningful relationship with the consumer. Daniel Wellington watches created a $200million business by working with bloggers, celebrities and other influencers worldwide to get more than a million followers on Instagram - four times the following of other premium brands. A number of Singaporean brands have also been very successful in this space. Singapore Tourism Board’s @visit_singapore has beautifully curated content, attracting close to 150,000 followers. Likewise local Singaporean fashion and lifestyle brands like Naiise (@naiise) and Collate (@collatethelable) have created strong local identities and cultivated large, engaged audiences.”

Zoë Lawrence, APAC Digital Director at Kantar TNS, said:

“The rise of Instagram and Snapchat highlight how consumers are eagerly adopting visual ways of expressing themselves, as they embrace the ability to capture and share moments. Importantly, the adoption of these new platforms is incremental – people are using them in addition to Facebook, WhatsApp and other social channels. This provides brands with multiple new channels to engage with consumers in a deeper and more effective way.

“What’s crucial is that brands no longer look at social channels as blank media space for advertising. The results show that consumers are demanding content that is integrated seamlessly into the platform, enhancing rather than interrupting the use of it. To do this successfully, it’s essential to maintain the brand values of the platform being used. Instagram is a place for highly-curated, enhanced images, whereas Snapchat is raw, in-the-moment and humorous. Brands need to approach each platform individually to ensure the content created mixes seamlessly into the user-generated feed and maintains their own integrity.”

About Connected Life

Connected Life is a leading global study of the digital attitudes and behaviours of 70,000 internet users across 57 countries. It uses comprehensive analysis of how connectivity changes people’s behaviour to address the big challenges for marketers. It does so by looking in detail at consumers, connections, content and commerce, providing the strategic guidance needed to keep, engage and influence the people that matter.

The fieldwork was undertaken in all markets between June and September 2016. Instagram and Snapchat usage measured by those who identified as using platform at all (daily, weekly, monthly or less often).

For further information, visit Connected Life

About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 80 countries. We provide actionable insights to help companies make impactful decisions and drive growth.

With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer relationships we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business.

We are part of Kantar, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies.

Find out more at Kantar TNS

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Working together across the whole spectrum of research and consulting disciplines, its specialist brands, employing 30,000 people, provide inspirational insights and business strategies for clients in 100 countries. Kantar is part of WPP and its services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

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