Marketing has always been an activity in which Singapore's Chinese, Indian and Arab merchants have played a major role. Their participation has increased in recent years as local branches of European firms have become less important. Warehousing, packaging, freight forwarding, and related services are of a high standard. A wide range of consumer goods, such as luxury, electronic, handicraft, and food items, are available in Singapore from international department stores, brand name specialty stores, local department store chains, and neighborhood shops and markets. Prices are fixed in most larger retail establishments; however, haggling is still common in smaller shops. Within the industrial sector, prices are inflated to account for bargaining.
Advertising is done by radio and television, outdoor displays, slides in motion picture theaters, and newspapers. There are several advertising agencies. Consumers are highly brand-conscious, and advertising concentrates considerably on product trademarks.
Usual business hours are 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM , with many businesses closed from 1 to 2 PM . Most major enterprises and foreign firms operate Monday through Friday and are open a half-day on Saturday. A number of Chinese and Indian businesses maintain longer hours, with some open seven days a week. Bank hours are 9:30 AM to 3 PM Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM . Government offices are open from 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, and 8 AM to 1 PM on Saturday. Retail stores are open from 10 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Saturday, with most shops also open on Sunday.