Adyen Agility Report Singapore ~ Chapter Two

Through thick and thin 
Understanding consumer loyalty

Learn more about payments and loyalty in the Adyen Agility Report Singapore

Uncertainty regarding the pandemic and the course it would run undermined consumer confidence during the early months of 2020, so that purchases took on greater significance. There’s no doubt that loyalty during this period was hard-won. However, our research finds that, achieving this will pay lasting dividends.

“ZALORA’s approach to building customer loyalty all these years has always been guided by our commitment to ensuring that our consumers receive the best-in-class shopping experience possible.”

Rostin Javadi ~ Chief Operations Officer, ZALORA

Inspiring loyalty

Convenience is key

In our global study, Singapore saw some of the more radical shifts in consumer behavior during the pandemic. With Circuit Breaker measures restricting consumers’ movements, many quickly pivoted to online channels and stores closer to home. While these trends were evident globally, their strength in Singapore underscores the country’s characteristic adaptability and pragmatism. Indeed, while stuck at home, almost a third of respondents took the opportunity to shop with new brands online. 

Another important factor for consumers is your ability to serve them during a crisis. Almost three quarters of consumers plan to continue supporting the retailers they relied on during the pandemic, meaning that if you were able to provide the goods when the chips were down, you’ll be rewarded with a devoted following. 

It’s also worth noting that 80% of those who will be shopping with the same retailers, will be shopping more online. This suggests that retailers who were adaptable enough to supply a seamless online experience when consumers needed it most will benefit from ongoing custom.

% that will continue shopping with and supporting retailers they relied on during the pandemic

% that will shop more with retailers located near them because they want them to stay open







18 - 34 yrs



35 - 54 yrs



55+ yrs



feel more loyal to brands that have shops near them, even if they don’t go in, they will shop online with them

shopped closer to home during the pandemic

18 - 34 yrs



35 - 54 yrs



55+ yrs



Technology and rewards will also be key pillars of loyalty following the pandemic. Four in five shoppers prefer to spend with retailers who have a loyalty program (compared to a global average of 58%). A similar number (82%) say that retailers need to improve the ways they reward them shopping with them – this percentage is similar for F&B (81%). Technology is a vehicle to achieving this – 71% say they would download a retailer’s app to receive better loyalty bonuses or rewards and 81% want loyalty programs to be linked automatically to their payment cards. 

A look further afield: Loyalty

Singaporeans expect retailers to reward them for their loyalty – more than most other consumers. 78% of shoppers say they prefer to shop with retailers who have a loyalty program, second only to Hong Kong (81%). This compares to the global average of 58%, 60% for Australia, 55% for the US and 49% for the UK. 

Expectations for how retailers reward shoppers are sky high. 82% said that retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them, compared to 74% in Hong Kong, 65% in Australia, 62% in the UK, 59% in the US and the global average 65%. 

During the pandemic, just 29% of Singaporeans continued to shop with the retailers they’d relied on previously. This was the lowest proportion of any country surveyed and illustrates how difficult it was for retailers to retain customers’ loyalty. For comparison, 50% of Australians and Hong Kongers carried on shopping with the same retailers and the global average is 41%.

Nevertheless, 72% of Singaporeans plan to continue shopping with the retailers they turned to during crisis. This suggests that the pandemic presented a significant turning point for Singaporean consumers, who will remain loyal to those retailers flexible enough to supply them in the most difficult circumstances. 

This was a trend evident across APAC, where 74% of consumers say they’ll continue supporting those retailers who served them during the pandemic (67% in Hong Kong and 78% in Australia), and globally (73%).

“The key for organizations to stay ahead of the game and become agile lies in moving all aspects of the business to digital solutions. For F&B players, this would include customer interaction, delivery, point-of-sale, staff training, customer loyalty and digital hygiene technology to ensure restaurants remain compliant with hygiene and food safety requirements. Surely, rewarding customers for loyalty needs to be very much digital rather than stamp cards or anything physical.”

Josh Bell ~ GM & Master Franchisee, Guzman y Gomez Singapore

Loyalty powered by payment technology

The beauty of unified commerce is that your channels are connected in one system making it possible to run cross-channel loyalty programs. For example, a customer’s payment method can become his/her loyalty card, which can automatically trigger discounts, tailored recommendations, and other rewards – the research shows that 81% of shoppers in Singapore want retailers to offer this technology.

For merchants it also means you don’t need to rely on your sales staff to recognize regular customers and you can roll out the red carpet online as well. So even when you can’t meet face-to-face, your customers still feel special.

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“With hygiene becoming top of mind for our customers, we saw cash usage drop by 90% and contactless payments increase manifold. So, that was a function of not only recommendations by the government authorities, but also customer preferences, and policy changes in our business within GYG. Implementation of digital solutions, and digitization within the business, are no longer optional.”

Josh Bell ~ GM & Master Franchisee, Guzman y Gomez Singapore

No touching

Singaporeans are ahead of the game when it comes to contactless payments, with 72% preferring to use card-based payments to cash and a third relying on their mobile device or digital wallet. And it’s just as well – contactless payments are rising in popularity, as consumers seek to make purchases without worrying about their safety. 

In the wake of the pandemic, consumers have quickly become used to technology being deployed to maintain their personal safety. The Singapore government has initiated an extensive contact tracing program using QR codes and implemented heat sensors and temperatures-taking measures as well. It stands to reason that consumers expect businesses to also draw on all the tools and technologies available to them to meet the hygiene standards mandated. Three quarters (72%) want to see retailers using technologies to reduce person-to-person contact and are concerned about the hygiene of payment terminals. This is likely to sit behind the 68% who want to see more stores offer app-based payments.  

The same goes for F&B. Respondents are concerned about coming into close contact with other diners and believe businesses should offer contactless payment options wherever possible.

% that are concerned about the hygiene of payment terminals and would prefer contactless payment methods











want retailers to use in-store technology to reduce person-to-person contact

worry about person-to-person contact in restaurants now

say restaurants should do everything they can to introduce contact-free ways to pay

A look further afield: Hygiene-conscious

The hygiene of retail destinations is a significant concern for Singaporeans, ranking higher than most countries we surveyed. 

Three quarters (75%) have avoided shopping for non-essential items in stores since the pandemic, compared to the global average of 61%, 60% of Australians, 63% of Americans, and 72% of Brits. For 57% of Singaporeans, this behavior is driven by concern about being in close proximity to strangers when in shops, compared to 47% of shoppers globally. Singaporeans rank on par with Australians, and Brits in this regard, but only 46% for Hong Kongers are concerned about social distancing in stores. 

39% of shoppers worried about touching items that others have touched when visiting stores, compared to the global average of 35%. Hong Kongers rank much higher in this regard (43%), while Australians are more relaxed (32%). 

Payments is another area of caution. More than any other nation except Brazil, Singaporeans care about the hygiene of payments terminals (72%). This compares to the global average (54%), Australia (50%), Hong Kong (59%), Australia (50%) and the UK (59%). Half said they used to prefer cash but have switched to card, contactless or digital wallets due to the pandemic, second only to Brazil (54%), while 47% of Hong Kongers made this switch and the global average sits at 41%. 

True to their tech-savvy nature, three quarters (72%) of Singaporeans want retailers to use technology to reduce person-to-person contact and provide a more hygienic shopping experience. This is more than in any country (apart from Hong Kong – 72% also) and far above the global average of 51%, the UK (49%), Australia (48%), and the US (52%).

“Digital payments is the way forward. Ordering via Crown’s mobile app and tokenization facilitated by Adyen’s technology – these have helped us enable experiences like pre-order and delivery. They have allowed us to shift online quickly and stay resilient amidst the pandemic.”

Keith Tan ~ Founder & CEO, Crown Group

Contactless payments today

Contactless payments have come a long way from simply tapping your card on a terminal. Near field communication (NFC) technology also supports digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay™️, Alipay and WeChat Pay. These wallets offer the added benefit of helping to blur the lines between digital and physical transactions so a customer can move seamlessly between the two. And, thanks to their secure authentication methods (like passcodes, fingerprints, and facial recognition), they’re not restricted to standard contactless transaction limits. Crucially, they remove the need to go digging around in your wallet, which reduces friction and helps increase conversions.

QR code payments may typically be associated with Chinese wallets, but they have become more popular recently across Southeast Asia with the growth of mobile payments and wallets. For Singapore, it may be even the case of QR scanning becoming part of daily life. The national digital contact tracing SafeEntry check-in system is QR code-based, and Singaporeans are gradually habituated to SafeEntry check-ins anytime they visit a mall, cafe, gym, etc. Several F&B establishments have also started using QR code menus. Within this context, it could be just a matter of time before QR becomes the norm.

For restaurants, there’s a whole new swathe of payment options that allow diners to keep their distance. These include pay-at-table and pay-at-bar, in which bar staff can send the drinks order straight to their handheld POS device, freeing up the cash desk for other orders.

"Prior to GrabPay’s inception, the concept of e-payments in the region was fairly new, with many merchants not yet onboarded onto e-payment ecosystems and consumers largely resistant due to their familiarity with and preference for cash. 

Since then, we’ve seen digital payments become more widely accepted, as new players and incumbents shift to digital operations and platforms. When GrabPay was launched, the convenience of paying for rides cashlessly helped to increase more digital transactions on our platform - which further grew when we launched new services such as deliveries (food, groceries, logistics).

Customer payment preferences have also evolved accordingly as we see broader use of digital wallets, which has accelerated due to the pandemic."

Huey Tyng Ooi ~ Managing Director, Head of GrabPay

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