Southeast Asia Perspective on the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2020

Euromonitor International identifies the most impactful trends driving consumer behaviors, values and habits each year. From this year’s Top 10 Global Consumer Trends edition, half of them related to home and technology space. Our analysts share their insights on key trends which will be shaping the home and technology landscape in Southeast Asia in 2020:

Beyond Human

Artificial intelligence is becoming mainstream. Consumers are embracing AI for convenience, and businesses are integrating this technology to autotomize operations and deliver personalized solutions.

The convenience factor of connected technology products becomes increasingly popular given consumers’ busy lifestyles. In Southeast Asia, 38% more units of connected robotic vacuum cleaners were sold in 2019, largely encouraged by affordable options.

Multifunctional Homes

The ability to do everything—work, shop, exercise and other activities—from the comfort of home is shifting consumer habits to revolve around in-home consumption.

The boom in internet retailing in Southeast Asia has greatly facilitated the rise of Direct to Consumer (D2C) brands in the Home and Garden space, making it easier for consumers to shop for furnishings from the comfort of their homes. This is especially true for mattress players such as Sonno in Malaysia, and Noa Mattress in Singapore. Leading players such as IKEA are fast expanding their operations in the region and are ramping up their delivery capabilities by constructing more distribution centers that will allow for the delivery of their products to more areas.

In the Tissue and Hygiene space, subscription models such as Fempeers based in Singapore provide monthly deliveries of sanitary protection products that are automatically renewed making it easier for consumers. Internet retailers such as Lazada, Tokiopedia and Pushkart and last-mile delivery options such as GoJek often give promotions for products such as baby diapers and laundry care.

Proudly Local, Going Global

Consumers are returning to their roots. Niche brands start their global route to success by accentuating their local credentials. Multinationals are becoming more sophisticated in shaping their products to local culture.

The Uniqlo Hana Tajima collection was successfully continued for another year. The rise of Hijab fashion opens opportunities for fashion retailers and washing machine manufacturers. Electrolux and Aqua both gained popularity in Indonesia with washing cycles targeted to care for Hijab and Batik. More localized features and campaigns are expected to build a strong brand image.

Reuse Revolutionaries

Ethical consumers are looking for alternatives to single-use products to reduce environmental footprint and waste. New circular business models aim to offer more with less through sharing, reusing, refilling and renting.

A small number of manufacturers in Southeast Asia have developed products that promote sustainability and reusability. In the Tissue & Hygiene space, a local Malaysian startup called ByWiwin produced reusable sanitary pads that can be washed and reused multiple times as a sustainable alternative to one-time use disposable pads. Similar startups are also found in Singapore such as Freedom Cups which sell reusable menstrual cups. This startup has a social service element where for every cup that is purchased, one is given away for free to women in need.

In the Home and Garden space, there is a growing demand for food storage solutions as consumers are incentivized by schemes at restaurants where a discount is applied when one brings their own Tupperware container. For example, the Bring Your Own (BYO) movement in Singapore started in 2017 involves 430 retail outlets and reduced over 2.5 million pieces of disposable plastic. In developing markets, the sustainability movement is nascent though manufacturers are slowly entering the market. Unilever’s Seventh Generation, a line of environmentally friendly home care products, was released to the market in 2019. The brand’s entry signals the fact that though these products are more expensive, some consumers are still willing to pay because of the sustainability element of these products.

We Want Clean Air Everywhere

The impact of air pollution on health is becoming widely known with climate activism only escalating. Businesses are facing pressures to provide solutions that safeguard the environment and consumers from the effects of poor air quality. The future points toward cleaner and more sustainable cities.

Being the most direct solution to combat air pollution, the volume sales of air purifiers in Thailand spiked by 69% in 2019 as a response to the rising PM2.5 levels. Given the lack of regulatory enforcement to tackle pollution, the demand air purifiers are projected to expand at double-digit CAGR over the next 5 years.

Rising awareness of pollution is also changing the function of air conditioners. Models with air purification features are marketed to improve indoor air quality which is extremely appealing to young parents with kids. Panasonic, LG, Sharp and more brands all launched such products in Southeast Asia.