The rise of “Made in Asia”

Asian consumers are now flocking in rising numbers to Asian brands that are catering to their lifestyles and their wants and needs1.  
 
 
 
We expect to see a boom in products ‘Made in Asia, for Asia, by Asia’ this trend is fuelled by the race for the Asian consumer, which has resulted in ever higher regional expectations, and therefore demand for products and services.  There is also a desire among Asian consumers for regional success, and the increased receptiveness of Asian consumers to increasingly best-in-class Asian brands2
 
 
The growth in the Asian middle classes means millions more Asian consumers with high expectations. These Consumers are increasingly determined to invest in, reimagine and showcase their own localities, traditions and cultures.  
 
 

ASEAN Economic community

 
It's intended that 2015 will see the southeast Asian nations create the ASEAN Economic Community, a single market to allow the free flow of goods and services between the constituent members.
 

So how do non-Asian brands get a slice of the Asian market? 

 
Asia will be a major area of economic growth over the next decade and beyond, resulting in the rise of the middle-class and dramatic increases in lifestyle and luxury consumption. Businesses therefore need customer-focused strategies to capitalize on this growth.  Asia is home to a myriad of consumer characteristics and unique needs.  Brands need to get close to their target, and learn about their lifestyle, behaviours and aspirations. 
 
 
The Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)   have recently launched the findings of their study on the psychological make-up of Asian consumers.  Its key findings were ; 
 
  • Asian consumers value the family, 
  • Believe in hard work, 
  • Are financially conservative 
  • They desire respect for the tremendous progress they have made, 
 
Professor Bernd Schmitt, Executive Director of ACI, said, “As Asia increases in importance as a growth engine of the global economy, companies all over the world, not least Western multinationals, are looking towards Asia for their future. To build a strong brand in Asia, they need to offer more than just functional superiority. The brands that understand, leverage and fulfil the emotional and expressive needs of the pan-Asian consumer are those that will succeed in the Asian marketplace.” 
 
The study identified four distinct segments of consumers:
 
  • Inner-Directed Traditionalists (19% of population), who value religion and tradition, tend to be thrifty and less materialistic;
  • Outer-Directed Strivers (29% of population) tend to have lower education and incomes. They value work success highly, seeking endorsement in the form of fame and material wealth, just like the celebrities they admire;
  • Survivor Oriented (13% of population) consumers tend to be older, less educated, with lower incomes, and are financially less optimistic; and
  • Mainstream Asian Values (39% of population)

 

The study found that Singapore consumers tend to value creativity and the need to be different and unique. They are also more supportive of gender equality. And perhaps in response to the hectic lifestyle here, Singaporeans yearn for more free time for themselves.

 

Separate studies from ACI have found that; 

 

  • Emerging markets require different strategies than developed markets
  • Western management must develop a culturally sensitive mind-set to succeed in Asian markets
  • Customer orientated approaches are more likely to succeed

 

So how should you position your brand to succeed in Singapore and Asia? 

 

  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Do your homework – know your consumer
  • Consider partnering with a local brand
  • Be customer service focused
 
For more information about the support available to you from the Business Services team please contact carole@britcham.org.sg or call 65 6222 3552
 
 
 
Sources:

1http://trendwatching.com/trends/localizasian/

2http://insights-on-business.com/consumer-products/trendwatching-localizasian-products-made-in-asia-for-asia-by-asia/

3http://enewsletter.ntu.edu.sg/%28X%281%29S%284t2ktxa0ljp4u3wjabkv22fl%29%29/NBSAlumni/Nov2013/Pages/NBSNews4.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

4http://www.nbs.ntu.edu.sg/News_Events/News/Pages/ACI_study_decodes_Asian_consumers.aspx
 
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