The Covid-19 Pandemic is shaping a new world in terms of consumer behaviour and, with the uncertainty for the months ahead, marketers are more than ever looking for guidance. We have created this article for companies looking to grow their online presence in the Asia Pacific region in 2021 and remain profitable despite the pandemic.
Even though every country has its own distinct characteristics we have collected a list of broad trends across Asia to provide the big picture of what is happening in the region.
These are the main consumer trends in Asia in 2021.
Online Shopping Revolution
This trend is rising worldwide, but it is especially noticeable in countries such as China, Japan, or South Korea, where the advanced digital infrastructure enabled a rapid shift to online.
In South Korea, online shopping transactions reached an all-time high in August 2020 due to the social distancing measures in the country while, in China, online penetration of grocery sales rose 20% during the peak of the crisis.
Online shopping categories and services have greatly expanded this year amid Covid-19 and we expect a huge online market restructuring in 2021. From small retail e-commerces to delivery platforms or larger platforms like Alibaba or Coupang, is the perfect moment to upload your products online.
Consumers are going local
Consumers are getting more conscious of the impact of their purchase power. In 2021, there will be a big trend for supporting local brands.
In some Asian markets, like Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan there is a noticeable emphasis on hyper localization, where consumers are willing to support small businesses in their local neighbourhoods, particularly in the hospitality sector.
On the other hand, in countries like India and China, the government is leading a push towards national products. These initiatives resonated quite well with Indian consumers who are willing to go local to help to revive the economy. Also in China, the demand for national brands has been growing recently motivated both for the growth in the quality of Chinese brands and international trade tensions.
While local brands can easily connect with consumers by emphasizing their heritage, global brands need to demonstrate a real understanding of each market and its unique culture. Localizing marketing efforts is more important than ever.
Seeking Reliable Brands
Social Consciousness is a trend that we can see worldwide and was especially noticeable in the Black Lives Matter movement hold on social media this year. Consumers pay more attention to the companies they buy from and focus on the values the brands communicate.
In Southeast Asia, digital consumers have always been open to trying new brands, with purchasing habits largely inspired by an openness to digital discovery. However, this year we have seen a strong preference for trusted and established brands that have a robust consumer trust.
Similar to this, in a recent studio made by Kadence 62% of Asian consumers believe that organizations have the responsibility to contribute to their communities.
By 2021 brands should lead meaningful initiatives (beyond donations) to be on the same page as consumers. Companies should stop being all talk and take action, and not only in the B2C industries.
Good Social Media Management could be a brand's best ally to demonstrate brand transparency and show evidence of the actions they are making. Engage with users by answering difficult questions and openly admit to mistakes are other ways to build trust with them.
Health is Wealth
It is no surprise that for 2021 healthcare is going to be top of the agenda for many consumers. Since the pandemic, most Asian consumers have adopted healthier diets (59%) and we can see a lot of growth and innovation in a wide range of areas: at-home workouts, telemedicine, hailing apps, etc.
It is also interesting that the lockdown in countries like China has risen the importance of having good mental health. According to a research from PwC 87% of Chinese consumers are focused on taking better care of their mental health by investing time in themselves. For example, 79% of Chinese consumers think grooming routines are a good way to reduce stress.
As consumers become more interested in caring about themselves and the planet, they gravitate to models that make their lives simpler and with a lesser impact on the environment.