2020 in Review: Asia’s Emerging Consumer Trends

2020 in Review: Asia’s Emerging Consumer Trends

In 2020, I was commissioned by Zurich-based DKSH to produce 10 commentaries on developing business and consumer trends. The idea was to combine China, North East Asia and South East Asia.

We discussed the brief before the pandemic. The goal was to address a mix of influencing factors on consumer trends across demographics and borders.

Interestingly, although the scope and context evolved during 2020, the key topics remained similar. 

Among the topics featured were e-payments, live-streaming, influencer marketing, trends in the halal economy, creative biodegradables and group buying.

The dynamic impact of the pandemic dominated each piece. Accelerated variants of existing trends began to emerge, and these were overlaid by a dramatic shift toward smartphone shopping and cashless payments.

And, some breaking news – I will be creating a new series of 10 commentaries in 2021.

Here are five samples from 2020:

1) Six reasons why live-streaming will dominate e-Commerce in 2021

Live streaming has emerged as a white-hot direct sales tactic in the past two years, but it can be so much more. This article analysed how live-streaming can be used for brand building, showcasing new experiences and creating gamified interactions with consumers.

“While the live-streaming phenomenon was made in China, it is gaining momentum across South East Asia. In 2020, as consumers spent more time browsing and shopping from home, brands began tapping into this powerful sales and engagement channel.”

Key themes:

1) Cashless Push From China; 2) The Pandemic Effect; 3) Making Money More Inclusive; 4) Keep an Eye on Consolidation, 5) Next Step: Digital Banking

Read the full article HERE

2) Five post-pandemic beauty and wellness trends in Asia

Lockdowns and social distancing have shone new spotlights on personal beauty and branding. From above-the-mask skincare to applying organic products that nourish and nurture, this piece assesses personal care shifts that may endure into the future.

“Brands are asking three key questions: Which self-enhancement trends have been accelerated by lockdown? Which ones may fall by the wayside? And, what new trends may emerge in the coming weeks and months.”

Key themes:

1) Keep Me Safe; 2) Integrated Skin Regimens; 3) Beauty is a Feeling; 4) Love for Live Streaming; 5) Don’t Forget Him

Read the full article HERE

3) Five factors to drive e-payments growth in South East Asia

A cashless future was starting to unfold across South East Asia before COVID-19. Today, it is full speed ahead. With several e-wallet brands competing for consumers, the digital payments landscape is both dynamic and fragmented. This article looks at what may happen next.

“Southeast Asia’s blossoming love affair with cashless transactions is evident everywhere. Store counters from Bangkok to Bandung and Penang to Phnom Penh present an array of branded QR code options. So do online marketplaces.”

Key themes:

1) Cashless Push From China; 2) The Pandemic Effect; 3) Making Money More Inclusive; 4) Keep an Eye on Consolidation; 5) Next Stop Digital Banking

Read the full article HERE

4) Five reasons why biodegradables and upcycling are becoming more meaningful in South East Asia

While 2020 witnessed proliferation of disposable plastic gloves and facemasks, it also brought creative innovation in upcycled and biodegradable products. This article charts a discernible trend in reusable commerce and eco-friendly materials sourcing.

“2020 delivered impressive developments in biodegradable packaging, upcycled and reusable products and eco-friendly materials sourcing. This shift towards eco-responsibility among brands and consumers augurs well for the post-pandemic economic and social challenges signposted up ahead.”

Key themes:

1) Changing Consumer Attitudes; 2) Organic Packaging; 3) Planet-Friendly Chic; 4) Sourcing from the Sea; 5) 2020s: A Sustainable Decade?

Read the full article HERE

5) Five emerging youth consumer trends in South East Asia

Trying to crack Gen Z mindsets continues to trouble brand marketers. Experience-driven, emotionally-guided and capricious, youthful consumers present complex challenges. This article examines five emerging trends to watch in South East Asia.

“Smart brands understand that Gen Z consumers do not behave as a homogenous group. Specific factors influence browsing and buying patterns in each market. But certain national and regional trend layers were developing. Brand loyalty was becoming rare and campaigns enjoyed micro-term engagement. Now, after eight months of COVID-19, a reassessment is underway of Gen Z aspirations and expectations.”

Key themes:

1) A Cautious Transition; 2) Bigger Digital Footprints; 3) Diverse Online Choices; 4) Socially Inspired Shopping; 5) More Creative, More Resilient

Read the full article HERE

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