Rishi Bedi
Nov 17, 2021

Bargain hunters, category explorers and brand lovers. Meet Southeast Asia’s holiday shoppers

Southeast Asia will see an all-time high in online consumers this festive season. Rishi Bedi, VP and GM, Southeast Asia, Japan & Korea at InMobi shares how brands can take advantage.

Bargain hunters, category explorers and brand lovers. Meet Southeast Asia’s holiday shoppers

Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse regions across the globe. With a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities and identities, there is always a reason to celebrate – especially towards the end of the year. But as with the rest of the world, the region has faced a vastly different holiday season over the last 20 months; one framed by lockdowns, social distancing, and a more measured outlook.

Despite these setbacks, the spirit of resilience and positivity in the region is stronger than ever and this positivity is translating into shopping habits. When quizzed on their outlook in a survey conducted by InMobi, Southeast Asian consumers shared that they intend to go ahead with their shopping plans this year, with a substantial portion of the population having already made choices on the brands and products they will purchase.

Here, we share highlights from Decoding the Southeast Asian Festive Shopper in 2021, a research study to help advertisers understand the shopping sentiments of Southeast Asian consumers and provide marketers with deep insights to fine-tune their mobile marketing strategies this festive season.

Holiday shopping trends in Southeast Asia

Having accrued over 70 million new online shoppers since the onset of the pandemic, and with over 80% of consumers in the region set to make online shopping a part of their daily lives, Southeast Asia has emerged as the home of the digital shopper.

According to the research, over 33% of Southeast Asians have finalized shopping plans for the various end-of-year festivities with plans to purchase across multiple categories including apparel, groceries, gadgets, and home appliances. However, 67% of the survey respondents shared that they are yet to finalize their shopping plans this holiday season, attributing reduced budgets and safety concerns, as primary concerns. The lack of enticing and relevant offers has also failed to inspire this season's shoppers, meaning that brands still have ample opportunity to ramp up their campaigns to meaningfully connect with these undecided consumers. 

Unsurprisingly, online shopping is set to make huge gains this festive season, driven by the social distancing and associated lockdowns affecting consumers in the region. With over 93% of consumers planning to leverage online channels this year, the Southeast Asian economy will play host to a digital festive season. Further underscoring consumers’ commitment to online, over 24% of respondents indicated that they have doubled down on their digital habits, while 47% stated that they will be cutting down their spend on offline channels. As a result, Southeast Asia will see an all-time high in the number of first-time online shoppers, giving marketers a unique opportunity to connect with new consumers.

The three key holiday shopper personas

Amongst Southeast Asia’s festive shoppers, the study uncovered an emergence of three key buyer personas.

  • Bargain Hunters: shoppers who have not planned their purchases yet and are waiting for the best offers
  • Category Explorers: shoppers who have decided on their preferred shopping categories but not on the actual products or brands
  • Brand Lovers: shoppers who have decided on the brands and products they will purchase

Close to 64% of holiday shoppers fall into the Bargain Hunter category, 26% of respondents are Category Explorers, while Brand Lovers account for 10% of Southeast Asian shoppers.  Brands can tap into moments of passion for these consumers and build meaningful associations tailored towards their interests.

Holiday shopping trends across countries

While the preference for online shopping this festive season is consistent across the Southeast Asian region, each country presents its own preferences for shopping categories, purchase timelines, and even budgets. Singaporean shoppers are most active during their 11.11 sales for example, while Indonesian shoppers love to shop more during Harbolnas, which takes place a couple of weeks ahead of Christmas. It is crucial for brands and marketers to be aware of these subtleties while planning their campaigns for the Southeast Asian region. Even zeroing in on persona-based insights such as the fact that 68% of mothers in the Philippines are first time online shoppers this year, can be significant to the way brands pitch their products and services.

To gain an in-depth understanding of how consumers across the Southeast Asian region plan to shop this 2021 Festive Season, download InMobi’s report, Decoding the Connected Southeast Asian Festive Shopper in 2021. We discuss the must-know three-step formula that will help advertisers to strike a meaningful chord with their consumers.

Download the report now.

For more information on festive shopper behavior or planning a blockbuster festive season for your brand, get in touch with InMobi at [email protected] 

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