Southeast Asia: How Will Consumers Be in 2030?

In 2019, emerging and developing countries accounted for 60% of global GDP (in Purchasing Power Parity terms), and this figure will continue to climb. Asia plays a pivotal role in this ascent, accounting for 57% of emerging and developing countries’ GDP in 2019. At the same time, over half of the world’s megacities (i.e. cities with over 10 million inhabitants) are in Asia Pacific.

Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, will be the largest megacity in the world in 2030. These shifting market frontiers create opportunities for retailers and brands considering entering Southeast Asia, therefore, companies will need to understand how Southeast Asian consumers will eat, shop, have fun, move and go green in the future.

Eating: technology as a disruptor or facilitator?

Consumer foodservice continues to be a lucrative opportunity for players in Southeast Asia, especially as income growth drives consumer sophistication. Consumers in Indonesia and Thailand, the two largest markets, rated all-natural, 100% organic, as well as healthy and nutritional as the top health and wellness food preferences in 2018.

Foodservice aggregators like Deliveroo are set to expand their presence, especially with the introduction of ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants. Moreover, robot and drone waiters will become commonplace in foodservice outlets as well, while artificial intelligence will help foodservice brands to predict dining behaviour and create customised menu offerings.

Shopping: generation Z as future consumers

As digital natives, Generation Z drives online spending, so much so that some question whether this generation’s burgeoning interest in all things digital will come at the demise of physical stores and shopping malls. However, most retail sales in Southeast Asia continue to take place in physical stores.

According to Euromonitor’s 2019 Lifestyles Survey, Generation Z will continue to shop in physical stores for some key reasons, including to see or try before they buy and because they view stores as being more trustworthy than online sales. In 2030, retailers and shopping centre players are likely to focus on experiential and activity-based retailing to draw Gen Z consumers away from their screens and into shopping malls.

Leisure and entertainment retail will flourish in the future, as shopping centres incorporate more gyms, fitness studios, urban farms, social kitchens and cinemas, turning shopping malls into fun, social hubs.

Having fun: experiences take flight

According to Euromonitor’s 2019 Health and Nutrition Survey, close to 30% of consumers in Thailand report still feeling tired after they wake up. In a world where consumers’ lives are becoming busier and more stressful every day, having fun becomes paramount. In the future, technology (e.g. AR and VR) will help enhance consumer experiences and how consumers have fun.

Panasonic has showcased its smart stadium solutions involving AR and 3D projection mapping, allowing spectators to see game statistics, engage on social media or even buy food. Beyond traditional sports, interest in esports is also intensifying. In 2030, VR technology will likely enhance the in-game experience for esports competitors. VR could even lead to consumers enjoying concerts or sports games from the comfort of their own homes.

On the move: mobility as a service

Southeast Asia cities are some of the most densely populated in the world. Over time, consumers in Southeast Asia will shift from buying cars and motorcycles (either electric or fossil fuel-powered) to Mobility as a Service (MaaS). 5G technology will help to facilitate Mobility as a Service, all in one transport mobile apps that combine ride-sharing, car rental and public transport options into one platform, making for seamless customer journeys.

Going green: sustainable cities, homes and lifestyles

In the future, Southeast Asian consumers will radically decrease meat consumption, eating more vegetables, plant-based meat substitutes and possibly even insects. Consumers will be focused on products as services, transitioning away from disposable plastic packaging to reusable packaging for everyday household products. Smart meters will track electricity usage and consumers will likely compost their own food scraps to reduce food waste being sent to landfills.

To learn more about how consumers will eat, shop, have fun, move and go green in 2030, download our The Future Consumers of Southeast Asia whitepaper.