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Singapore digital advertising lags in comparison to online media consumption

IN today's digital age, Singapore exhibits an interesting dichotomy that is perhaps unique. On the one hand, the country boasts the highest level of smartphone penetration in the world with 85 per cent of its population using these high-powered phones to access the Internet. On the other, the natural corollary of having a tech-savvy population, online advertising, ranks well below international averages.

Singaporeans spend an average of 40 per cent of their time on online media each day, giving the country the highest rate of digital consumption in the world. This makes the low digital spend - one of the lowest proportions among developed countries - all the more surprising.

Greg Unsworth, technology, media and telecommunications industry leader for PwC Singapore, notes that although the proportion of advertising budgets allocated to online has grown rapidly - climbing from just 7 per cent in 2011 to 15 per cent this year, with a compound annual growth rate of 35 per cent - Singapore is still far behind the UK, China, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Japan in terms of digital advertising spend.

The statistics come from a PwC survey which looks at digital advertising in Singapore. The report surveyed top marketing and media agency executives via interviews, and findings suggest that there are four inhibitors that hinder the adaptation of online advertising - poor understanding of measurement metrics online, limited supply of "digital" talent, slow mindset shift and relative ease of using traditional media channels.