Singaporeans least worried about coronavirus but least confident of economic recovery: Poll

About seven in 10 Singapore respondents said they are either "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about contracting Covid-19, according to an Ipsos survey. The poll also found that they are the most pessimistic about job security among residents of s
About seven in 10 Singapore respondents said they are either "very worried" or "somewhat worried" about contracting Covid-19, according to an Ipsos survey. The poll also found that they are the most pessimistic about job security among residents of six South-east Asian nations. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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 yesterday show that more than half of 500 Singapore residents indicated they are less confident about their job security than three months earlier - the highest proportion observed 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 - who Ipsos said were nationally representative in terms of age, gender and ethnicity - were surveyed from each of the countries.

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

The countries with the most number of people 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 with three months earlier.

This is the highest proportion among the countries surveyed, which averaged 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 in 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."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2020, with the headline 'Singaporeans least worried about virus but least confident of economic recovery: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe