The Asian shopping giant has awoken

With Asian markets delivering new economic growth to brands, it’s worth knowing what makes consumers there different from the European and American shoppers marketers are familiar with.

One of the most obvious things a marketer needs to know is who their audience is. In the case of many brands with origins in Europe and the US, this audience is increasingly coming from that sleeping giant, Asia.

In many cases, the giant is now awake, and marketers all of a sudden have to cater to a surging new class of Asian consumer.

The FT reports that Asia Pacific is fast food giant McDonalds’ fastest growing market, recording a double-digit sales increase in the region. And the Intercontinental Hotel Group says Asia is leading its economic recovery with its Greater China region reporting an increase in revenue per available room of a staggering 29.4% in the first half of this year.

This makes a study like Grey’s 2010 Eye on Asia retail study ever relevant for marketers who need an increasingly detailed level of knowledge of what makes shoppers in these markets tick.

Now in its fifth year, Grey has to date interviewed more than 35,000 people across the region, with the aim of bringing brands closer to the people of Asia, and in their words, “providing detailed insights on a variety of topics including attitudes towards work, family, finance, the environment, value systems, brands and marketing”.

The 2010 study revealed 26 key “eye-sights”, with Grey sharing its top six with us:

1. Two-thirds of final purchase choices are made in-store.
2. Asian shoppers take time to study products in-store.
3. Advice is appreciated as long as the staff’s approach is non-intrusive.
4. Almost half the promotions done in-store are wasted (because they are not done cleverly enough).
5. Asian shoppers visit stores not just for products but also for the experience.
6. Marketers must cater for individual shopper “tribes” and their behaviours.

Dodging the crowds on London’s Oxford Street might be a laborious chore for the best of us here in the UK, but spending the day shopping is still a cherished pastime for Asian shoppers. Grey claims they are looking for brands to heighten their shopping experience and give them the information they require to make the best purchase possible – and help them better enjoy their day out.

Low broadband penetration rates mean online shopping is less prominent in these markets, so brands have to work harder to capture people in store. There are opportunities to be creative with experiential and sampling. Luckily the social media revolution in the Western world has prompted marketers to make experiential and sampling projects work harder than ever, so projects that work here could be altered and applied to attract customers in these growing Asian markets – as long as marketers remember to keep the values of Asian shoppers in mind.


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