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BLOG: Southeast Asian consumer trends

Aneesh Reddy | Nov. 29, 2013
5 Crystal Ball Predictions for 2014

Every day in business is a risk. When you don't know the trends of the market, the best you can do is make intelligent assumptions about how market behaviours and conditions will unfold, from the mindset of consumers to the impact of world events, technological advancements, intricate shopping trends and more.

Join us as we gaze into our crystal ball and pinpoint five Southeast Asian consumer trends pivotal to the business strategy of any company looking to make waves in the region in 2014.

#1: Mobile will become even more dominant.

Mobile technologies are already a huge factor in the behaviour of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) consumers. 85 per cent of digital consumers in Singapore own an internet-capable mobile phone. 100 per cent of Indonesians internet users have online access through a mobile device, making mobile their main method of use and gateway to the internet. In both Singapore and Thailand, mobile penetration is more than 100 per cent, meaning that many consumers have more than one mobile device. Southeast Asia leads other world regions by an enormous margin in the amount regional mobile data growth occurring year-over-year, meaning the region is more collectively mobile-oriented and dedicated than any other region in the world.

There are already 895 million mobile users in the region. Expect that number to surpass a billion next and continue into the stratosphere. 

#2: Social Media will, too.
Make no mistake, social media is here to stay, especially in Southeast Asia. The region is experiencing a high social media adoption rate by individual citizens in almost every country. Perhaps most importantly, consumers in the region are using social media as a means to interact with businesses: 69 per cent of Singaporeans have connected with brands on a social media site, as have 65 per cent of Filipinos and 60 per cent of Malaysians.

The continued expansion of consumer interaction with companies in social media channels will signal huge opportunities for retailers and other similar businesses to engage customers, understand them and adjust their business strategy to match the needs of consumers.

#3: Indonesia will BOOM.
The Boston Consulting Group estimates that the number of middle class and affluent Indonesian consumers will double by 2020 alongside expansion of the country's GDP. To give you a better idea of the power of that number, that's 141 MILLION Indonesian consumers with money to spend on consumer goods.

Does this mean international retailers and consumer product producers are set for huge gains in the country? Not necessarily. 91 per cent of Indonesians purchase goods from locally run shops, so digital purchasing may not become the dominant way to buy for the Indonesian population. On the other hand, Indonesia is just getting started down the road to massive internet use and becoming digitally savvy, and trends towards use have been remarkably robust. To help further accelerate the move towards internet inundation, Google has rolled out Google Passport service, which allows internet users to access the internet via an Android app for free or extremely reduced rates, across Jakarta.


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