2015 marks an important transition for over 600 million people from ten Southeast Asian countries venturing into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), full scale, joining force to stabilize and strengthen the regional size economy. Two critical success factors to a solid progressive foundation are; continual streams of investment; and, the incorporation of environment-friendly modern technology. Coincide to change are evolving trends that either progress or regress with time. The following depicts ten prevailing trends Asian consumers should keep an eye on as they reflect regional opportunities, innovations, and business growth, in the very close foreseeable future:
1. Better Together: Constructive Togetherness. In ASEAN, numerous problems exists, large and small, they be corruption, abuse, exploitation, or disorder, not to mention natural disasters, to top it all off. One thing these apparently isolated predicaments have in common, though, is that they are all seemingly insurmountable challenges for a handful of informed citizens and officials to mitigate, not without a proper backup, at least. Yet, things changed for the better. Technology and social media are making such an impact drawing great vives from the mass in unforewitnessed ways. If the price of sustainability is eternal vigilance, we might indeed be witnessing the beginning of a game changing force that enables us to circumnavigate vital challenges for a betterment, today. This is also seen as an opportunity for both the public and private sector to jump in with amplified vigor, and just as importantly, if not more, with amplified back up, as well, by the same token.
2. Bare Essentials: Innovations for the Mass. The overall seemingly standout economic performance doesn’t necessarily translate to improved standard of living by society at large, as most are preoccupied with fending for basic needs such as food and shelter, with a better quality of life on the back burner. What economists refer to as the “Social Class” or “Pyramid Hierarchy”, of to which suggests society is vertically divided by wealth, still very much exists today. Despite the mass, or the largest part somewhere towards the bottom half of the pyramid, never being officially declared a target audience in modern marketing, we should see amplified importance from 2015 onwards, as is already evident in several innovative trends being geared around applicabilities of mass markets in society, once again.
3. Local Lingos: The Charm of Native Dialects. Language differences may have been the dividing factor that broadened the brand-consumer gap in the past. Thus, Asians today expect more than a recognizable tune from a stranger with proposals, when it comes to their neighborhood. They want to be communicated with in their own local language or dialect. Besides getting the package across to the designated recipient in a timely manner without any missing parts, being able to respond to local hullabaloos with the right jargon in a native tongue also reflects the brand’s respect for the local culture, which should win them brownie points and brand loyalty in return.
4. Dragon’s Pride: (Made (Classy) in China). The new wave of Chinese consumers are rich, but the one thing they pride themselves of, is having their own distinguishable culture. As many high society Chinese don’t bother with Western preconception of glitter and glamour luxury, they are more than willing to promote their own version of grandeur in competition with world-renowned brands. A case in point example, Exception de Mixmind that has become a force to reckon with in the fashion world by combining top quality raw materials with cornerstone simplicity, and nonetheless, even though the brand logo is peculiarly left undisplayed, is able to maintain substantiated recognition and answer the needs of well-heeled esthetic customers.
5. Authenticity: Give Me Quality. In 2015, both consumers and native cultural owners will be paying more attention to the quality of legitimacy. Just as the new wave of consumers no longer spends on fugazies, willingly, the culture owners, by the same token, are upping their game to uphold integrity of the products that share their identity, for instance, a very cultural plate – food. The Thai Delicious Committee launched an innovative Thai-taste tester, or the Robotic Taster, in 2014, with an aim of authenticating Thai cooking in the global market.
6. Digital Discipline: The Middle Path of Technology. The digital world obviously makes everything easier and faster. On the other hand, a balanced lifestyle is what consumers look for nowadays. Asian consumers will pay attention to brands that are conscious of their behavior, particularly, brands that do not encourage overspending time and money in the digital world, and rather, promote appropriate etiquette and proper attention to those surrounding.
7. Convenient Payments: Online payment is the critical success factor that boosted shopping in Asia this year. Paying for goods and services with cash may not be necessary anymore as producers and service providers adopt such consumer-friendly feature systemically to accommodate this form of payment, with the intention of maximizing shopping conveniences, and thereby doing, consumer satisfaction, as well.
8. Taboo Busters: A new wave never lags behind. As the era of new trends took the sky, Asians have adopted comparatively different thinking patterns to hitherto, as a result of accessible higher education and urban culture popularity. What follows, is the quest for answers pertaining to the Whys and Hows and point of views that emerge, particularly the ones that probe obsolescent custumals, and unsurprisingly, eo ipso, the endorsement of practical viabilities and disclamation of unfeasible aberrations. What marketers need to pay attention to, is keeping up with emerging developments that are gaining traction in order to convey the right messages, and as much so, sidestep the wrong ones.
9. Here, Now, On Demand: At My Command. Given the variety of options that are readily available for selection nowadays, modern consumers are willing to pay more for convenient daily goods and services, provided they can make the purchase on demand; when they want it, and where they want it, with no long term obligations. This is because it’s fastest, easier, and genuinely answers an underlying need that comes with urban lifestyles.
10. Brand Stance: Modern-era Increased Sincerity. In the past, consumers were turned off by overstated commercials and dramatized visualizations, because what they really want is information about products and services that aid decision making. Thus, what today businesses need to be conscious of is to position themselves in a way that facilitates straightforward and open communication with customers, to make sure they don’t repeat the same mistake of turning over an otherwise loyal customer again.
Henceforth, with such trendy knowledge in mind, businesses must incorporate prominent tendencies in to the crafting of operational strategies and projections, which also include readjusting attitudes of both management and staff to embrace and cope with prevailing trends, should they transpire, to progress operations smoothly, and expand in to ASEAN markets, in a sustainable fashion.
Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
References SCG Logistics Management Co., Ltd. Newsletter