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SG-Budget 2017: Singaporeans Call for More Support of Older PMETs

February 17th, 2017 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

SG Budget 2017 Infographic – Updated


On February 20th 2017, Singapore’s 51st Budget will be announced in Parliament by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. Exclusive Blackbox polling on the Budget shows that Singaporeans have the economy very much at the forefront of their minds. They are now increasingly worried about future job prospects for older professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). Despite satisfaction amongst the general public with future adult educational opportunities (70%) and SkillsFuture (72%), this is not translating into confidence about older professionals’ job prospects. Clearly, with tough economic times persisting, fears are rising amongst white collar professionals, who are now looking to the Government for leadership as the Singapore economy transforms.

Besides the economy, healthcare is also a clear worry for the Government: only 34% of Singaporeans are satisfied with current cost levels and only 39% are satisfied with clinic waiting times.

Further findings from Blackbox’s pre-Budget polling show:

  • Two-thirds (66%) of Singaporeans think that the priority for the 2017 Budget should be on the economy and employment opportunities, vs. 17% who think that priority should be given to healthcare, 8% on social welfare, 7% on transport, 6% on education and 4% on housing.
  • 34% of Singaporeans say that the top economic priority should be job opportunities for PMETs. Currently, 34% of Singaporeans are satisfied with job opportunities for older PMETs, vs. 41% who are satisfied with opportunities for older blue collar workers.
  • In terms of new measures required across policy areas, Singaporeans responded as follows:

  • Singaporeans also expressed their priorities in the following areas:

AI: Are Asians Ready to Embrace Non-Human Alternatives in Everyday Life?

February 7th, 2017 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

Is artificial intelligence (AI) finally about to enter our everyday reality? 

Whether it’s your home, your car, your supermarket or your local family restaurant, artificial intelligence looks set to enter our everyday lives in a big way.

As recently featured on Yahoo News Singapore, Blackbox Research has put together an exclusive white paper looking at how Asians currently feel about robots and artificial intelligence becoming part of their everyday reality, whether it be at home or in other areas of life.

Our five country regional survey found that most Asians are indeed relaxed about AI becoming part of everyday life, albeit to varying degrees across different aspects of life. Most surprising is how people across Asia have a different take on the topic, highlighting cultural differences. Of real interest, however, is how the Chinese, more than any other people are ready to embrace AI in their lives. What does this tell us about the future of employment in the country with the most number of working people globally?

Most importantly, although previously confined to the shackles of science-fiction, the conversation about AI has now shifted quite markedly from a technology discussion into a community and lifestyle discussion. As such, AI is very much a topic about life today: how much governments, communities and consumers are willing to accept when it comes to transferring ordinary, everyday responsibilities to non-human intelligence.


Singapore’s News Personality of the Year

February 3rd, 2017 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 11.29.09 AM

To commemorate the end of the year of the Monkey, Blackbox Research took to the streets, asking Singaporeans who they would crown the news personality of 2016. 1,000 Singaporean respondents then placed their top three picks from a list of 17 news-makers.

Having snatched Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it comes as little surprise that 68% of Singaporeans crowned Joseph Schooling as Singapore’s 2016 news personality of the year. Aged just 21, Schooling rose to national fame as beat out his opponents – including personal idol, Michael Phelps – to a record 50.39 second win in the 100m butterfly.

Singapore’s third Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, came in second place with 58%. Already in his third term as Prime Minster, Lee continues to enjoy high popularity, and Blackbox’s findings validate this. Last year often saw Lee in the spotlight for a number of reasons: under his leadership, the Committee for the Future Economy (CFE) was launched, the bilateral agreement for a high-speed train between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was signed, and his Government rolled out Skillsfuture. The nation was also momentarily rattled by a brief health-scare during his National Day Rally speech, and the media pondered  the question of his potential future succession.

Late President S.R. Nathan took third place with 36%. The findings further highlight the nations reverence and affection for him, his place in the Nation’s heart clearly visible at the time of his passing. Showing further interest in Singapore’s political and sporting spheres, Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, took fourth place with 28%, whilst two-time gold medal Paralympian, Yip Pin Xiu, took fifth place with 26%. Trailing behind in sixth place was controversial video blogger and enfant terrible, Amos Yee at 14%. Yee is currently being held in detention in McHenry Country Adult Correctional Facility in Illinois, awaiting a court hearing on March 7th for political asylum in the United States of America.

A full review of 2016 will be released next week by Blackbox Research, detailing which areas the Government performed best and worst in over 2016, as well as taking a look at Singaporeans’ top priorities for 2017. Stay tuned for more information!

51 and Out

December 22nd, 2016 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

bb-dec-51-v2-jpg2To commemorate the end of 2016 and Singapore’s 51st year since independence, Blackbox interviewed 51 Singaporeans aged fifty-one, asking them to tell us how they feel as Singaporeans at this moment in time. Below, we share some of their thoughts and highlights.

  • “It’s been a journey of development. 50 years is very short for a nation, but we have come so far. I have grown up with Singapore. This is a beautiful place to call home.”
  • “I was born in 1965 and feel proud and honoured to grow and develop with our nation.  For the past 51 years, Singapore has achieved so much – from a little red dot to a well-known country with good infrastructure, uncorrupt government, clean and green country, multi-racial harmony, etc.  Looking forward to the future, I sincerely hope that all Singaporeans continue to unite as a nation to maintain continued peace and prosperity for our country and face all challengers together such as terrorism.”
  • “We are a nation of hard-working pragmatists, our sights fixed upon the job in hand and the opportunities ahead.”
  • “As for the journey, I had experienced kampung living as a kid to private condominium as an adult. It won’t be possible if we do not have capable Govt. who tries to improve the life of its people and motivated and hardworking citizens who are determined to strive for the better. However, life in Singapore is getting more and more stressful. Physically, life has improved tremendously for me, but mentally, it has become more and more pressurised.”  
  • “Great as we’ve progress so well for the last 50 years & in fact, I’m as old as our nation since I’m born on 9/8/1965. Looking forward to many more great years ahead. Cheers, Singapore!”
  • “I am happy to be a Singaporean.”
  • “Singapore is doing extremely well, I will be a real happy person if I am doing as well as Singapore.”
  • “I feel proud to be a Singapore.  I am proud of my government who righteous and God fearing man and woman to govern our country.”
  • “I have seen the country of kampong to a country with high skyscraper.”
  • “Singapore has progressed from third world to first world country, even it is only just ‘a little red dot’.”
  • “I couldn’t ask for more and hope that Singapore will be in peace and harmony and won’t the target for the terrorists.”
  • “It’s very challenging in terms of political leadership, readiness and economic viability.”
  •  “Economically, we have grown from strength to strength.”
  • “Singapore has been blessed with a good government working with a pragmatic population to gain political stability, economic prosperity & social harmony in nation-building.”
  • “Not easy. Very thankful to The Late Mr Lee’s credit and also the people who had contributed.”
  • “Progress is good, however, I think the government still need to consider rewarding those older folks who have contribute a lot to the nation building of Singapore by giving them, if possible free admission to attractions, free public transport..etc”
  • “Good and bad time. Happy and sad movement. Up and down throughout 51 years.”
  • “Though we are still a very young independent country, we have much to boast about, such as the transport infrastructure, world class standard hospitals, high literacy rate etc.”

#YKA Telcos: The Price of Reliability

December 21st, 2016 Posted in Monthly Community Sentiment Singapore (YKA)

On October 22nd and 24th, StarHub’s broadband internet network was brought down in a series of attacks on the Nation’s second biggest telco. Although no customers’ data was compromised in the attacks, they were unprecedented for Singapore, being the first to ever hit the Republic. A similarly drastic event struck Singtel on December 3rd, where the network saw its fibre broadband network suffer a day-long outage. In this month’s YKA, Blackbox takes a look at the price of reliability for telcos, as well as the cost of cyber-attacks.


Singaporeans Think Online Gambling Exemptions Will Exacerbate Gambling Addiction

December 15th, 2016 Posted in White Papers and Public Research


In September, Singapore’s Government decided to allow limited online betting take place. The move, a first for Singapore, would see the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) exempt Singapore-based lottery operators Singapore Pools and Singapore TurfClub from the Remote Gambling Act, which bans online and phone gambling. In a media release from MHA, the ministry commented on their reasoning for the exemptions. “A complete ban would only serve to drive remote gambling underground, making it harder to detect, and exacerbate the associated law and order, and social concerns.”

Community polling by Blackbox reveals that just under three-quarters of all Singaporeans (74%) are either opposed or strongly opposed to both online and offline gambling. In line with this, over seven in ten (76%) are concerned that the new exemptions will exacerbate gambling addiction in Singapore.

Despite their concerns, two in five Singaporeans (40%) support the new exemptions to online gambling, whilst just over one in five (21%) feel that they do not know enough about the issue. Younger Singaporeans – aged 15-24 – are more supportive of the new measures (46%) than the over 50s (36%). Just under two in five Singaporeans believe that the move will drive more visitors to casinos.

In order to be served the exemption, both Singapore Pools and Singapore TurfClub will have to put stringent safeguards in place, including age and identity verification, as well as daily spending limits. Breaches of these safeguards are punishable with fines of up to $1 million, as well as a revocation of operating license.

2015 saw the generation of $2.71 billion in betting taxes for the Nation. The Government revealed last year that Singapore’s two gambling resorts contributed between 1.5 and 2 percent of Singapore’s GDP and have created over 20,000 jobs.


#YKA Sex-Baby-House or House-Sex-Baby?

November 30th, 2016 Posted in Monthly Community Sentiment Singapore (YKA)

In October, Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo made local headlines when she said that Singaporeans do not need to get into a HDB BTO in order to conceive children. In our latest #YKA issue, Blackbox can reveal how many Singaporeans agree with the Senior Minister. The survey findings highlighted that Singaporeans’ response to Teo is more complicated than it seems on the surface.

Also in this month’s #YKA issue, we take a look at some troubling trends in Singapore’s economy, as well as what is perceived by many to be a growing divide between the rich and the poor. Given Brexit in the U.K. and the U.S. Trump phenomenon, these are not metrics that will please policy makers.


Amazon SG Primed to Take a Bite out of the Local E-Commerce Market

November 23rd, 2016 Posted in White Papers and Public Research


With its rumoured launch into Singapore planned for early 2017, e-commerce giant Amazon appears well positioned to shake up the local market. Exclusive new research from Blackbox reveals that Singaporeans – already avid online shoppers and big users of Amazon’s overseas sites – appear willing to make the switch, potentially placing many existing e-commerce players into the firing line. Those most likely to feel the heat include Qoo10, Lazada, Alibaba, Ebay, Gumtree, Fairprice and Asos.

Blackbox found that nearly nine in ten (86%) online shoppers in Singapore will likely purchase from Amazon’s new local site. With official Government estimates indicating over half of all Singaporeans are now online shoppers, the move means big business for Amazon. Blackbox’s findings show that Singaporeans would be willing to buy clothes and shoes (61%), electronics (50%), beauty and health products (43%), as well as groceries (34%) from Amazon’s Singapore-based site.

The findings pose a significant threat to existing competitors in the market, especially local, smaller sized businesses, who are may find it difficult to compete with Amazon’s deep pockets. When asked where they would shop at less given Amazon’s entry, over two in five (41%) of Qoo10’s shoppers said they would make the switch – a large chunk, given that it was found to be respondents’ preferred online shopping venue at present. Over one third of Alibaba’s customers (37%) said they would make a move, as well as 34% of Ebay’s customers, 29% of Gumtree’s customers, 23% of Asos’s customers and 19% of Fairprice’s customers.  Although the largest overall shift (59% from the US store; 49% from the UK store) will occur from Amazon’s offshore sites to its new Singapore-based one, this cannibalisation is unlikely to hurt overall global business, so long as Amazon’s local offerings are able to match up to the quality of its offshore sites.

amazon-final-1One market player everyone will be watching post Amazon’s entry is Lazada, who recently acquired online grocery retailer Redmart. With Amazon set to introduce its AmazonFresh grocery service with the 2017 launch, market analysts will be keen to see how Lazada responds to its latest threat. 35% of Lazada’s customers, as well as 16% of Redmart’s customers said they would shop less at aforementioned online stores given the launch of Amazon Singapore. Also likely to be affected is Netflix Singapore, who will now have to compete with Amazon’s Prime service, which gives premium members access to a growing library of videos and music, including original digital content, such as Jeremy Clarkson’s recently launched The Grand Tour.

Blackbox polled a nationally representative sample of n=1,000 adults between November 12th and November 21st 2016.


Brexit Blues: Is It Really All Over?

November 8th, 2016 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

PixabayLast week Thursday, the British High Court ruled that the British Parliament must vote on the invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the necessary trigger to start the UK’s two-year withdrawal process from the European Union (EU). Previously, British Prime Minister Theresa May had stated that she holds the necessary executive powers to begin the formal departure process from the EU without a parliamentary vote.

In polling conducted as part of our monthly omnibus in August earlier this year, Blackbox asked Singaporeans for their take on Brexit. It found that less than one in four Singaporeans (24%) think that UK voters’ decision to leave the EU was the right one. Additionally, nearly half of all Singaporeans (46%) believe that Brexit will have little impact on Singapore, whilst nearly one in five (19%) think it will have a positive impact, and 35% believe it will have a negative impact.

The UK Government has appealed against the High Court’s recent ruling. The case is expected to be heard by the British Supreme Court by January next year. In the meantime, May has said that she is “clear” on the matter, and expects to trigger Article 50 by March 2017.


Did Trump Just Accuse Singapore of Stealing US Jobs?

November 8th, 2016 Posted in White Papers and Public Research

PixabaySpeaking on Sunday at one of his final campaign rallies for this election season in Florida, Republican nominee Donald Trump told his supporters that countries like Singapore are taking away jobs from Americans. According to Trump, Americans are “living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world… Baxter Health Care laid off 199 workers and moved their jobs to Singapore. It’s getting worse and worse and worse.”

At the rally, Trump spoke of his plans to prevent companies from moving their workers offshore. “If a company wants to fire their workers, leave Florida, move to another country, … we will make them pay…They’re never going to leave this country. They’re never leaving. They’re never going to leave this country!”

With Singapore’s economy riding on the election result tomorrow, it comes as little surprise that Blackbox Research found Singaporeans overwhelmingly in support of Clinton in a poll commissioned and published by the leading regional newspaper, the South China Morning Post. Overall, 84% of Singaporeans said they would vote for Clinton given the chance, versus 16% for Trump. Likewise, when asked who they would rather invite over for dinner, 81% of Singaporeans favoured Clinton versus a meagre 19% who said they would prefer Trump as their house guest.

Our survey covered over 400 Singaporean adult respondents (nationally representative) and was conducted between October 12th and October 23rd 2016.