COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on in-outlet hygiene and contact-free shopping and dining experiences, especially due to the significant spread of COVID-19 in the community and the ease of virus transmission in crowded areas. Local retailers and foodservice operators have been quick to recognise this “new normal” and have adapted their product offerings to consumers to provide greater assurance of safety, either by leveraging remote e-commerce (for product ordering and payment), or proximity e-commerce (by offering cashless payment methods).
COVID-19 has devastated the local tourism industry, in particular due to the closure of Singapore’s borders to international travellers for non-essential trips. Tourism-dependent sectors, such as ticketed attractions and experiences and lodging, were hit heavily by the absence of international visitors, with the small size of Singapore’s resident population necessitating a historic reliance on international tourism.
In December 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the successful applicants for digital banking licences locally. In particular, the Digital Full Bank licence awarded to Sea Ltd and the Grab-Singtel consortium will allow companies to offer banking services, such as savings accounts and credit/debit cards for customers.
In 2020, as consumers stayed at home amidst the pandemic and turned to remote e-commerce to fulfil their spending needs, popular proximity mobile wallets, such as GrabPay and DBS PayLah!, recognised the opportunity and adapted their use cases towards remote e-commerce. Such mobile wallets have already digitised the consumer’s payment card or are directly linked to their bank account.
Singapore’s government recognises the global growth and popularity of smart home/devices in recent years, and has worked to support innovation and growth in the area, while ensuring smart devices adhere to a minimum level of consumer safety and cybersecurity. In October 2020, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) launched the Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS), the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.
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