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Travel takes top spot in S’pore consumers’ non-essential spending; more choose to buy now, pay later

SINGAPORE – Travel takes the top spot in Singaporeans’ spending priorities for non-essential items, with most willing to fund their expenses through instalment payment options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes, showed a recent survey.

BNPL services generally allow consumers to spread out their payments at zero interest, but charge late fees. They take a cut from merchants for each sale.

Analysts and industry players told The Straits Times that consumers are increasingly opting for such services because of their convenience. 

But some said safeguards need to be in place to protect users.

A recent survey by travel tech company Amadeus found that 46 per cent of consumers said international travel is a priority area for spending in the coming year, much more than fashion, eating out and big-ticket items such as a new car.

Eating out was important to 37 per cent of the 500 Singaporeans polled in June, while 29 per cent prioritised fashion purchases, and just 24 per cent wanted to spend on big-ticket items such as a new car or home furnishings.

The respondents were aged 18 and above and had a range of income levels.

The survey also found that Singaporeans have the most appetite for international travel, coming ahead of German, French and US consumers.

A total of 4,500 consumers in France, Germany, Britain, the United States and Singapore were polled for the survey.

Singaporean travellers are more likely to spread out their expenses to avoid high foreign exchange transaction fees and dip into loyalty points they previously collected, showed the survey.

About 95 per cent said they might choose instalment options such as BNPL services to fund their travel over the coming year, topping the global average of 75 per cent.

This figure also beats the 57 per cent of those polled here who said they might use a credit card.

Ms Barbara Crane, KPMG in Singapore’s financial services advisory partner, said the professional services firm is increasingly seeing companies offer BNPL options for travel purchases in addition to online or in-store ones.

“There is considerable pent-up demand for travel, and BNPL providers are also counting on this as an area where consumer demand is expected to persist for some time.”