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It pays to see what your competitor is doing

4 minute read | August 2021

Keep your eyes on the competition to become the financial partner of choice

To grow as a financial institution, you need to consider how you can capitalise on your competitors’ customer base. Of the country’s 5.7 million people, 4.04 million have a relationship with a financial institution. 

The standards of living and affluence will continue to rise in Singapore, as individuals seek to maximize their savings and investments. To do this, they need the right personal financial partner to suit their needs. With informed media planning, you can be that financial partner of choice. Singaporeans’ phase of life and financial aspirations heavily influence which financial institution they choose to bank with. 

So who are the big four banks’ customers? 


Attracting 40% of the general population, 13% of which are 35-39, DBS has a solid foundation in Singapore. This bank’s customers are living in the fast lane and feeling the pressures of everyday life, with 59% saying that their work and studies are becoming increasingly demanding. Thirty-five percent are happy to spend where necessary to get quality, organic food and they genuinely care about what impact they have on the planet, with 46% expressing they are environmentally conscious. 

To reach them, financial institutions should adopt or grow their digital media strategy. We know they love to be online, constantly consuming and searching for fresh news and content. In the past month, 51% have explored food and drink content and 59% have bought products/services online. 


In Singapore, POSB has the largest share of customers, with 2.6 million people choosing to bank with them. Generally, these consumers are a few years older, with a quarter of them 60+. This group is money conscious, with 64.5% saying they feel that financial independence is the top goal in life, and they tend to focus on savings rather than spending. 

In order to reach this older, affluent customer base it’s necessary for financial institutions to consider more traditional media strategies. Currently, their online browsing and internet activity is minimal and they are more likely than other financial institutions customers to tune in to the radio and open the newspaper.


There are 1.06 million people in Singapore that bank with UOB. Its clientele gravitates to a middle aged client base (14% are 50-54). They care about their well-being by maintaining a healthy balanced diet (62%) and always keep an eye on the nutritional content of food (53%). The internet plays a big part in their lives; in the past month, 59% use the internet to buy products and services, whilst 49% use the internet as a source of information on which products or services to buy.

Engage this audience with food and fitness. Whether it be with creative messaging, media channels or collaborations, these industries are an effective way to resonate with the health-conscious UOB customer.


The OCBC customer is generally younger and likes to prioritise their assets; 66% reveal that their main priority in life is to be financially independent. They like to be well informed of the latest news, stay up to date with daily life through emails. Sixty-two percent have logged on to Channel News Asia in the past month, and 44% have actively sourced news from international publishers. This group is hungry for long-term investment options and should be targeted with exciting portfolios of offerings. 

Despite the fact that between the four big banks they share such a large volume of the population, they all have remarkably defined and unique groups of clientele. These groups have specific expectations from their financial institutions that tend to follow their life stage. Due to the hyper competitive Singaporean environment, it is fundamental that banks attract not only new clientele but also customers from their competitors. 

Financial marketers can help by knowing what competitor customers want from each phase of their life and engage with them accordingly. This provides the best opportunity to understand this audience, their expectations from their bank and to deliver insights on how to use the right media mix, with the most compelling messages. 

When it comes to media planning, are you capitalising on the competition’s audience?



The Nielsen Singapore Consumer & Media View Study was conducted between July 2019 to June 2020. The database consists of three components: Media Index & Consumer Insights (surveyed among 4,833 adult respondents), and Digital Consumer (surveyed among 1,608 adult respondents who use the internet at least once a month). Results are weighted mainly by age, sex and race to be representative of the 4,310 (‘000) people living in Singapore aged 15 and above. CMV covers a multitude of brands and categories, if you would like to find out more about how CMV can help you more effectively plan your marketing, please contact your Nielsen representative.

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