How the World Does Digital: Gen Z and Millennials Drive Singapore’s Digital Economy

While Singapore captivates visitors with its vibrant culture, food and stunning architecture, this Southeast Asian city-state wears another crown: A world leader in digital engagement.

Nicknamed the “Lion City,” Singapore boasts a dense population of 5.7 million that actively embraces digital technologies, shaping how citizens connect, consume and conduct business.

Singapore earned the No. 2 spot in PYMNTS Intelligence’s recently released landmark report, How the World Does Digital, which offers a detailed analysis of digital engagement trends based on a survey of 67,000 consumers from 11 countries. Across nations including the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and others, the report explores the varying levels of participation in digital activities, revealing distinct patterns influenced by generational and income factors.

Particularly notable, for example, is Brazil’s position as a leader in digital adoption, highlighting robust engagement rates compared to other surveyed countries. 

A Global Look

The research underscores the critical importance of fostering global inclusive digital growth and enhancing infrastructure to address the digital divide.

By examining 40 core activities within 11 pillars of digital life — spanning domains such as banking, shopping and entertainment — the report provides a nuanced understanding of how consumers across different demographics integrate digital technologies into their daily routines. These activities were measured based on frequency — whether daily, weekly, monthly or not at all — allowing for an insightful comparison of digital engagement levels across countries and demographic groups.

The survey uses representative sample sizes across all surveyed countries and carefully balances variables, including gender, age, income and education. As a result, the report offers a comprehensive global perspective on digital behaviors and preferences, highlighting the widespread prevalence of digital interactions in contemporary society.

Singapores Digital Acumen

Mirroring other countries, Singapore’s digital activity is widespread.

Music streaming grabs the top spot, with 67.6% of consumers engaging weekly. Mobile banking is second at 64.9%, with messaging coming in third at 64.5%. Mobile gaming (62.9%), watching a livestream (62.8%) and passive social media use (62.8%) are also popular. Rounding out the top 10 list of digital activities are video streaming (58.1%), checking on work remotely after hours (48.6%), online banking (48.2%) and traffic-related apps (44.8%).

Meanwhile, Singapore’s most popular digital activities (by monthly engagement) are music streaming (16.9 days), messaging (16.6 days), mobile gaming (16.5 days), watching a livestream (16.2 days), passive social media (15.9 days), video streaming (14.5 days), mobile banking (14.5 days), checking on work remotely after hours (11.8 days), tracking health data (11.2 days) and online banking (11.2 days).

Millennials and Generation Z are neck-and-neck for the most digitally engaged generation in Singapore. Gen Z checks in 422 active days per year, while millennials are close behind at 419 days. This digital fluency significantly outpaces Generation X, whose average activity days (287) are only two-thirds that of Gen Z. As with previous data, baby boomers lag far behind, averaging just 235 days of digital activity — barely over half that of Gen Z.

Income also plays a role in digital engagement. High earners are the most active at 388 days, followed by middle-income earners (331 days), and low-income earners (288 days).

Government Initiatives

Singapore’s government is a strong advocate for digital transformation among its businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This commitment is evident in the millions of dollars invested in funding initiatives like the SMEs Go Digital program.

Small businesses are at the heart of Singapore’s economy, employing two-thirds of its workforce while contributing nearly half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With digital technology transforming every sector of Singapore’s economy, the initiative ensures that SMEs grow digitally and make the most of digital solutions to improve operations and generate new revenue.

Another government initiative supporting business digitalization is the SkillsFuture Funding Support for Employers. This program allows eligible companies to receive significant subsidies (up to 90%) on training fees and employee salaries while they attend approved courses. These courses, offered by providers like Equinet Academy, can include valuable digital marketing skills relevant to today’s business landscape.

Digital transformation is no longer just a fancy term in Singapore. It’s essential for businesses to stay relevant. Singapore has been actively working on its digital transformation for years, focusing on using digital technologies to improve different industries and make the economy more innovative.