The 5Cs (cash, car, condo, credit card and country club membership) of Singapore has long stood as the threshold of every Singaporean’s dating requirements. But are they still the gold standard when it comes to looking for an ideal partner?

New findings by independent market research firm Milieu Insight reveal that men tend to place more importance on physical traits while women prioritise their partner’s financial security. Men ranked physical traits like looks and being good in bed higher while women ranked traits like career stability and financial status as more important.

The study surveyed 3334 Singaporeans in February 2019 aged from 16 and above by Milieu Insight and the data was weighted to represent the online population of Singapore in terms of age and gender demographics. The study polled respondents on the qualities (e.g. honesty, sense of humour) and personal preferences (e.g. body type, hair colour) they look for in an ideal partner.


Singaporeans are looking for potential life partners with good personal hygiene

When it comes to an ideal partner, Singaporeans have certain basic criteria that their potential mate should meet. Qualities that were exceptionally popular with both genders, included traits like kindness (79%), honesty (71%) and a love for children (70%). These typical qualities required for family building shows that most Singaporeans seek partners with long term relationships in mind.

The top scoring quality in both genders? Personal hygiene. Both men and women prioritise cleanliness, coming in as the highest ranked trait in both men (85%) and women (90%). Singaporeans looking for their dream partner better remember to use deodorant and perfume before going on dates! Smelling good is also one of Singaporeans’ most desired attributes, with 70% reporting that it’s something they look for in their ideal partner.


Men prioritise beauty and sex more than women; women prioritise financial security

For men, the qualities they desire in their ideal partner tend to be physical in nature, while women are more likely to prioritise financial security over beauty and affection. Men ranked qualities like beauty (70%), being good in bed (50%) and being a good kisser (48%) significantly higher than women who ranked these same qualities; looks (54%), being good in bed (33%) and being a good kisser (38%) considerably lower.

However, the qualities women prioritise tend to be financial in nature, ranking qualities like financial status (70%), occupation (61%), career stability (55%) that signal economic security much higher than men, with men ranking the same qualities; financial status (47%), occupation (37%), career stability (25%), notably lower.

Does that mean that all men are superficial and women materialistic? Not quite. Biology could be the innate driving factor for this trend. Women have always needed to be selective when choosing a partner, as their long pregnancy and child raising period mean that they require a mate to protect and provide for themselves and their children. Meanwhile, men tend to look for partners who are fertile, of which beauty and sexual expertise serve as key indicators.

Another reason for the stark difference in dating preferences could be due to internalised gender norms in Singaporean society. “The more gender equal a society is, the less women have to rely on men for money and status while men will prioritise other qualities women have besides youth and beauty,” says Milieu Insight community manager, Shuyin Yeo. “Although it’s impossible to have a perfectly gender equal society, we should aim for women to have more access to higher positions in politics, business and education so as to achieve more parity within the community and in personal relationships.”