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4 February 2021

Singaporeans take more control of health and retirement amid pandemic, Manulife survey shows

  • Tracking steps and heartbeat stand out as Singaporeans self-monitor health
  • Discernible pickup in interest about retirement by Singaporeans during Covid-19


SINGAPORE -- A year on from Covid-19 first entering the public consciousness, Singaporeans are taking more control of their health and retirement, as Asia comes to terms with the longer-term impact of Covid-19, according to new research from Manulife.

The latest version of the “Manulife Asia Care Survey” takes a closer look into customers’ concerns, priorities and aspirations. The survey polled about 4,000 people across the region who either own insurance or intend to buy it in the next six months, including around 440 from Singapore1.


Across the region, almost all respondents (95%) have made a personal effort to combat worries over COVID-19, including exercising more regularly (58%) and improving their diet (54%). The sentiment in Singapore mirrors the regional trend, with 90% of locals having taken action to manage fears on the pandemic through fitness (38%) and diet adjustments (41%).

Additionally, setting aside their Covid-19 concerns, almost all respondents (92%) are tracking their health and fitness, including body weight, sleep quality, blood pressure, heartbeat and steps. In Singapore, 89% are conscientious about monitoring their health and evidently pay the most attention to their steps as compared to the four developed markets covered in the survey2. Noteworthy too is that more than half (53%) of the Singaporeans surveyed own fitness wearables, well above the Asia average of 46%.

Majority of Singaporeans (74%) have also expressed that the need for retirement planning has grown in importance to them since the start of COVID-19, above the regionwide average of 73%. The high level of interest in retirement is aligned with concerns about personal wealth, with 55% of Singaporeans having expected a decline in personal wealth as a result of the pandemic. This result comes in second after Hong Kong’s 59%, against a regional average of 42%.  

“Health and retirement are clearly top of mind for many Singaporeans since the onset of the pandemic. But what we’re also seeing is that amid uncertainty, Singaporeans are finding ways to take more control of their health and finances,” said Dr. Khoo Kah Siang, Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Singapore. “At Manulife, we not only offer health and retirement solutions, but a behaviour-linked programme like ManulifeMOVE, which helps customers take better control of their health by rewarding them for every move they make, while encouraging them to work towards a healthy goal.”



Aligned with taking better control of health and finance is an interest to buy new insurance. In Singapore, despite high insurance penetration, more than half (56%) say they intend to buy new insurance in the next six months. Locals are most interested in wealth/investment-linked products, as well as life, hospitalisation and health.

In terms of access, about 39% of Singaporeans prefer to manage their policies through digital means like mobile apps, including for claims and payment. The survey also revealed that 65% of Singaporeans have spoken to an advisor about purchasing insurance over the next 6 months, which is higher than the regional average of 64%.

“Our customers are seeking more digital touchpoints that are safe, simple and convenient,” added Dr Khoo. “While those digital habits are here for the long term, many still prefer to speak to their advisors. This underscores the importance of our omnichannel approach, one that fully integrates digital, while maximising our human qualities of empathy, trust and a holistic understanding of our customers’ needs.”


1This version of the Manulife Asia Care Survey was conducted via online self-completed questionnaires in eight markets, namely Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. A total of 3,946 people, aged 25 years old or above, was surveyed in November 2020. In Singapore, 442 people were surveyed. They included insurance owners and those who did not own insurance but intended to buy it in the next six months.

2The developed markets referenced in the survey are Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

Asia takes control of health and retirement amid COVID-19

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we operate as Manulife across our offices in Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. We provide financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2019, we had more than 35,000 employees, over 98,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving almost 30 million customers. As of September 30, 2020, we had $1.3 trillion (US$943 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $31.2 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 155 years. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.

About Manulife Singapore

Established in 1899, Manulife Singapore provides insurance, retirement and wealth management solutions to meet the financial needs of our customers across their various life stages. Customers can readily access our solutions through our extensive multi-channel distribution network. In addition to our established agency force, we distribute our products through a number of specialist partners, including banks and financial advisory firms.

For more information on Manulife Singapore, visit

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Esther Subramaniam / Derick Lee