Huiqi Ong
As Mintel's Consumer Lifestyle Analyst, Huiqi examines data to draw out stories behind consumers’ needs and wants across the Asia Pacific region.

Due to financial uncertainties, APAC consumers are now embracing a scarcity mindset. In fact, two-thirds of consumers* say they have a budget that they try to stick to as much as possible, according to Mintel Global Consumer research on the holistic consumer. 

With tightening purse strings, the idea of convenience is evolving beyond just providing speed or ease. Brands can explore this idea of evolved convenience by developing affordable products and services that work together to make consumers’ lives easier, thus increasing the value of the brand. 

Help consumers plan

Brands can create products and services that take the hassle out of planning, in line with Mintel Trend Help Me Help Myself. Consumers want to make the best decisions for themselves, but don’t always have the mental bandwidth to accommodate every single decision they make throughout the day. The increased ownership of smartphones and other digital devices offers consumers new tools that are enabled by technology to improve their lifestyles more effectively. 

Tech-driven financial services, such as spending trackers and mobile investments,  will be welcomed by younger demographics, including millennials, who have just started to enjoy an independent lifestyle, are time-strapped, but still want to live responsibly. In Singapore, nine in 10 consumers aged 25-34 have used their tablet, laptop or desktop to manage their finances**.

A prime example is GCash’s collaboration with social media platform Kumu to launch the #PlsSaveMe campaign. GCash, a virtual wallet service under the Philippines’ major telecommunications provider Globe Telecom, worked with Kumu to promote financial wellness amongst consumers. The campaign highlighted how using GCash’s Save Money features could help consumers better manage their expenditure. Such financial products that are seamlessly built into existing products and services would encourage take-up, given the lower barriers to entry.

#PlsSaveMe campaign (Source: Facebook/Kumu)

Provide sustainable, yet affordable, options

APAC consumers are also increasingly concerned about leading a sustainable lifestyle:  over a third of APAC consumers say they try to act in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment. While consumers in the region show interest in leading more sustainable lives, many are deterred by the notion that it is more expensive to be sustainable – and here lies the opportunity for brands to educate consumers.

Brands can lead the conversation by showing consumers how generating less waste can lead to more cost savings in the long run. For instance, purchasing reusable storage items such as silicone lids and resealable food bags mean that consumers will purchase fewer one-time-use plastic products such as cling film.

Using silicone bowl lids means spending less on cling film (Source: Instagram/Kappi.life)

Elevate convenience to a lifestyle

As consumers gradually return to their pre-pandemic routines, the lessons learned about financial wellbeing over the last two years are here to stay. To further harness evolved convenience, brands should think about making it part of a consumer’s lifestyle instead of making individual products and services convenient to use.

As explored in the Mintel 2022 Global Consumer Trend Enjoyment Everywhere, consumers are proactively seeking joyful respites to combat the anxiety and stress caused by the global pandemic and the current economic uncertainties. We can expect to see consumers who are willing to spend on brands that show effort and care in curating their products or even bring fun to the table: nearly four in five APAC consumers say that they seek fun in all aspects of life.

IKEA Taiwan’s catalog featured an Animal Crossing makeover (Source: Facebook/IKEA Taiwan)

For example, IKEA Taiwan’s catalog matched furniture in its Animal Crossing pages to real IKEA furniture. The element of fun will appeal to consumers who are feeling stressed or anxious, and IKEA’s selection shows how their products can seamlessly fit into consumers’ lives.

What we think

Consumers will continue to seek convenience in their already busy daily lives, but at the same time, will lean towards affordable products and services that can help them through the difficult times. The growing uptake of digital services will play a greater role in elevating convenience to a higher and broader level – allowing them to enjoy the experiences they have lost or missed out on due to the pandemic.

For further insights on what consumers expect and why when it comes to convenience and how brands can plan for it, check out Mintel’s Little Conversation podcast S3E78 on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

*Median of 13,000 internet users aged 18+ across 13 APAC markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam); March 2022

**239 Singaporean internet users who personally own tablet or laptop computers or who have desktop computers in the household (vs 921 of the total sample); March 2022