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Mintel has today (18 December) announced six key consumer trends impacting industries and markets in Asia Pacific, specifically the South and Southeast Asian and Australasian sub-regions, identifying how they will play out in the years to come. In 2019 and beyond, the region’s consumer landscape will evolve like never before, driven by themes of privacy, individuality, wellness, convenience and connectivity:

  • Total Wellbeing: Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs.
  • Challenge Accepted: A growing momentum to take on new challenges is driving consumers to reach new heights and uncover new passions.
  • Redefining Adulthood: The concept of what it means to be an adult has changed beyond recognition and consumers are adapting to lives that don’t fit the mould.
  • On Display: Consumers and brands are becoming more aware that they have a digital persona to nurture and grow, creating tension as everyone fights for attention and nobody is safe from scrutiny.
  • Social Isolation: Constant digital connectivity, where physical interactions are replaced with digital updates, can increase feelings of loneliness, social isolation and depression, creating a demand for products and services that help consumers learn to disconnect.
  • Rethink Plastic: While not inherently bad, the throwaway use of plastic is driving consumers to review their own behaviours to prevent plastic pollution.

Here, Matthew Crabbe, Regional Trends Director, Asia Pacific, at Mintel, explores how the trends are set to shake up markets across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia, including implications for both consumers and brands.

TOTAL WELLBEING

“Consumers in the sub-regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australasia are increasing their awareness and knowledge of new alternatives that could help them achieve their goal of living a more balanced, healthy life. New body tracking technology, combined with scientific knowledge, is synergising with traditional wellness practices to create individually-tailored services, allowing consumers to achieve a new level of healthy living.

“Empowered by the information made easily available in this digital age, educated consumers will be on the hunt for products and services that better suit their bodies’ individual needs. In the years ahead, customisation will be a key factor for new categories looking to help consumers in their overall wellness goals. Indeed, seven in 10 (71%) metro Indonesians like to customise when it comes to their food, while nearly two-thirds (63%) of metro Thai consumers say they would like the option to personalise in products and services related to health and wellness.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

“In 2019 and beyond, brands will be challenged to become more experiential, engaging and fun. Broader goals, global knowledge and the sharing of information indicate that consumers are looking for new ways to satisfy their curiosity and indulge in novel, more extreme activities by stepping out of their comfort zones.

“Consumers are after new life experiences as opposed to simply spending on material things, and, as such, are trying new things and travelling to new destinations. The willingness among younger generations to pay for new experiences is closely intertwined with their technology habits, especially as they have the tendency to show off their passions on social media. Indeed, over a quarter (28%) of Indian social media users share content as it makes them feel good.”

REDEFINING ADULTHOOD

“Traditional life stages are now diversifying under the influence of new found consumer values and a shift in mentality to accommodate more globalised viewpoints. This can be observed in the blurring of gender stereotypes and the increased instance of younger people taking on greater financial responsibility. In fact, two thirds (65%) of metro Australians value the importance of gender equality, while 86% of metro Indonesians aged 25-34 say they would like to get their household finances in order.

“It is important that brands attune themselves to shifting consumer lifestyles. Expect to see these changes challenge traditional expectations and assumptions about how consumers behave. Brands that heed these changes will adapt better in the future, while those that fail to do so may find themselves an anachronism.”

ON DISPLAY

“Consumers are increasingly focused on creating online personas, an online identity that shapes what people want others to think, feel and believe about them. These various personas can even become distinctly different personalities from an individual’s true identity. This complicates the relationship between brands and the various needs of these different consumer personalities, but also creates opportunities for brands to sell to the same person more than once. However, it is important that brands are sensitive about not intruding too far into people’s personal space.

“Looking ahead, the easy accessibility of the internet that is encouraging a culture of taking complaints online, will create an environment where nobody is safe from scrutiny. Brands can look into leveraging artificial intelligence to start conversations with and receive ideas and feedback from consumers, finding new ways to improve while making them feel valued. At the same time, issues caused by fake news can incite mob reactions, driving brands and government organisations to mediate. Mintel research reveals that almost half (46%) of metro Australians say that they expect honest advertising from brands.”

SOCIAL ISOLATION

“Loneliness is a real issue, leading to depression and other mental health issues across demographics in the region. The use of digital technology to create connections is a means for some to overcome this loneliness; a third of metro Australians (33%) and metro Thais (32%) say that they feel lonely if they didn’t own a smartphone. However, digital technology may be accentuating feelings of isolation for some, despite being ‘connected’.

“Looking ahead, fighting the severity of isolation among consumers is an ethical goal brands can take up. By being a part of the solution for people’s needs, brands can contribute to the betterment of their lives, and thus, gain consumer loyalty. The time is ripe for brands to contribute to the mental wellbeing of today’s consumer.”

RETHINK PLASTIC

“Plastic waste is an issue that is under major scrutiny in Asia Pacific, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. Fast-moving urban lifestyles have created huge demand for convenience and affordability, sometimes at the risk of harming the environment. Consumers, today, are more aware of the world’s happenings and have the desire to do their part for the environment: a third (33%) of Indian consumers say that they often reuse their plastic bags and containers.

“While companies in the region are already creating solutions to address this global issue, changes are not happening fast enough. As this is an issue that affects all sectors of the consumer marketplace, expect to see brands that don’t take part in the shift away from unnecessary plastic use being shunned by ‘green’ consumers.”

Media interviews with Matthew Crabbe, Regional Trends Director, Asia Pacific, are available on request from the Mintel Press Office.

Learn more about Mintel’s South, Southeast Asia & Australasia Consumer Trends 2019 in a new thought piece available here for free download.