Megatrends Shaping the Future of Southeast Asian Consumers
Megatrends are global and influential paradigm shifts that shape long term consumer behaviour. Euromonitor’s three key megatrends – Connected Consumers, Premiumisation, and Experience More manifest and impact consumer behaviour. As the world increasingly connects, consumers become more exposed to more foreign products and services, with emerging Southeast Asian countries providing untapped potential that can be leveraged.
Connectivity, convenience, and personalisation now hold even more importance in the post-lockdown world as we see permanent shifts in consumer priorities and increased comfort with using technology. This is evident even for older demographics who experienced the convenience of home deliveries during this time and will demand more personalised products and services amidst more targeted shopping rather than impulse buying.
New technologies have shifted the way consumers live, work, shop and play. Consumers want shorter, personalised content and are increasingly connected. Smartphones put the world at consumers’ fingertips, providing instant access to almost anything at any time. Consumers are increasingly connecting via mobiles for all their needs.
Super-apps have emerged in the market and Southeast Asia is the next hotspot for such apps. Examples include LINE Thailand, Grab Singapore, and GoJek Indonesia. These apps started off with one service but quickly adapted to consumers’ needs and expanded into other services such as food, groceries, medicine, deliveries, online retailing, entertainment etc. Digital start-ups, such as online review and comparison sites modelled after those already present in more developed markets, have also been performing well in Thailand.
This can be seen from the Euromonitor Lifestyles survey below which shows that with technology, people are increasingly connected and use it to improve their lives and alleviate or enhance their images.
As the middle class grows, there is proportional migration up the wealth curve as more consumers look for premium offerings to enhance their lifestyles. With growing disposable income and higher purchasing power, consumers are willing to invest in premium products and services that they believe will augment their lifestyles. With Thailand being a fairly homogeneous culture, many Thai consumers are beginning to venture into the premium market to find new products and services.
With exposure to various products, services and experiences around the world, younger consumers believe it is important to experience other cultures. With higher levels of disposable income, many Malaysians are keen on acquiring new experiences, particularly more exotic global travel experiences.
74% of Malaysian respondents say it is important to experience other cultures, while 62% say it is important to spend on experiences; which is higher than those of their global and regional counterparts. With Islam the dominant religion, many are turning to Muslim-friendly travel portals like TripFez to meet their holiday travel needs. TripFez makes it easy for Muslims to comply with Islamic Law while travelling as it notifies them of prayer times, halal food sources, qiblah direction etc.
In Vietnam, low-cost carriers like VietJet air are shuttling consumers to nearby popular destinations. With continued economic growth and a rising middle-class population, Thais travel abroad and across their country on vacation. Tourkrub, a Thailand-based travel company helps tour operators go digital and makes searching for tours easier. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will have an impact on travel in the near future until the lockdown subsides and the world adapts to a new normal.
Connectivity, convenience and personalised experiences will be key themes in the future. Consumers of the future are looking for advantages that technology can bring to everyday life, to help them simplify life. Consumers want shorter, personalised content, and brands must find the right balance between building trust, engaging consumers, providing security and delivering memorable products and services in order to achieve this.
For more information on megatrends read our 2019 Megatrends: State of Play whitepaper.