S'poreans least worried among S-E Asians about getting Covid-19, but less secure about jobs: Poll

Only 27 per cent of Singapore residents are expecting the economy to improve in the next six months.
Only 27 per cent of Singapore residents are expecting the economy to improve in the next six months.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - While residents of Singapore are the least worried about contracting Covid-19 compared with people from five other South-east Asian countries, they are also the most pessimistic about an economic recovery, according to a research survey.

The findings released on Friday (Oct 23) showed that more than half of 500 Singapore residents indicated they are less confident about their job security compared with three months earlier - the highest observed when compared with respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Only 27 per cent of Singapore residents are expecting the economy to improve in the next six months, market research firm Ipsos said.

Ipsos conducted the online survey from Sept 18 to 22, asking respondents questions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They included how residents of the six South-east Asian countries have adapted to Covid-19 restrictions, as well as their household income and spending patterns.

Five hundred people aged 18 and above - which Ipsos said was nationally representative in terms of age, gender and ethnicity - were surveyed from each of the countries.

On contracting the coronavirus, 73 per cent of Singapore respondents said they are either "very worried" or "somewhat worried" of contracting it.

The countries most worried were the Philippines (95 per cent), and Vietnam and Malaysia (both 93 per cent).

But 56 per cent of Singapore respondents said they are "less confident" about job security for themselves, their families, or other people they know personally, compared to three months earlier.

This is the highest among the countries surveyed, which averaged at 49 per cent.

When it came to economic recovery in the next six months, residents of Indonesia are the most optimistic, with 75 per cent saying the economy will be "somewhat stronger" or "much stronger".

The figure was 51 per cent for Vietnam and 50 per cent for the Philippines, and only 27 per cent for Singapore.

When asked what the priority for the government in the next six months should be, 32 per cent of Singapore residents said "protecting jobs".

This is more than the other South-east Asian countries such as Malaysia (20 per cent) or Indonesia (13 per cent).

The three other choices presented to respondents for this question were: "control prices of goods", "provide cash assistance to households", and "keep everyone safe from Covid-19".

Mr Prasad Shinde, senior client officer at Ipsos in Singapore, said Singaporeans are reassured by the steps taken by the Government in containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

"They are however more concerned about their job security and feel the Government could do more in this area," he added in the statement.

Separately, Mr Shinde noted that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cashless payments in Singapore and the region.

In general, 43 per cent more survey respondents are buying more items online, 42 per cent more people are using cashless payments, and 29 per cent more people are streaming more online content.

He said: "Such habits are likely to persist beyond the pandemic. Most brands and marketers are in the planning stage for their business in 2021 and taking note of these changed habits in their plans for 2021 is important."