SINGAPORE — Almost three in four Singapore residents expressed fears about contracting the novel coronavirus, according to a survey released on Thursday (4 June).
The survey, conducted online by market research company Ipsos between 19 and 25 May, polled a representative sample of 500 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 18 and above.
To date, Singapore has 36,922 cases of COVID-19, of which some 413 are Singapore residents.
While 71 per cent of respondents expressed worries over contracting the coronavirus disease, which is predominantly spread through respiratory droplets, 58 per cent of them remain confident that Singapore is well equipped to manage the pandemic.
Two in three noted that the circuit breaker measures imposed to fight the outbreak have impacted their household incomes, while some 40 per cent feel that their incomes will get worse in the next six months.
“This was however before the announcement of the Fortitude Budget by DPM Heng Swee Keat on 26 May which may have affected opinions subsequently,” said Ipsos.
Only one in four said they would be comfortable to visit restaurants in June and July, if the option is available.
Similarly, 30 per cent said they will not join a cultural event or gathering this year while 28 per cent said they will not visit a gym or take a sports membership.
Over half – or 53 per cent – do not intend to travel this year even if it is allowed.
“Singaporeans, at present, do not feel (life would go back to the way it was) as seen from their reduced spend intention at dining out or disinclination towards going on holidays or attending large events or gatherings,” said Prasad Shinde, Ipsos Singapore’s senior client officer.
“Sentiment, however, changes rapidly and this may depend on how in control they feel the COVID-19 situation is.”
But some 72 per cent said they will visit a neighbourhood mall within two months after circuit breaker restrictions are lifted while 33 per cent say the same for malls in the Orchard Road area.
Close to nine in 10 respondents, or 88 per cent, purchased something online during the circuit breaker period, of whom two in three said that they had shopped for a new product category for the first time during the period.
The bulk of these purchases were for groceries and food products (63 per cent). Other categories such as personal care items (51 per cent), cleaning products (38 per cent), home appliances (28 per cent), and even furniture (six per cent) attracted first-time online shoppers.
“It has become quite common for example for a purchase to be made via WhatsApp and for collection to be made at a curbside pick-up. The awareness and familiarity with such possibilities, as well as the perceived greater convenience to shoppers, may mean that demand for these options remains long after life goes back to normal, so it will be interesting to see whether any retail sectors look to make some of these permanent,” said Nick Hunter, Ipsos Singapore Director of Market Strategy and Understanding at Ipsos in Singapore.
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