Olivia Parker
Oct 26, 2018

Centennials don't care about your brand's good reputation

A new study by Dentsu Aegis Media looks into the buying habits of 16- to 23-year-olds in Southeast Asia.

A new survey finds that centennials seem to care less about which brand they buy than previous generations
A new survey finds that centennials seem to care less about which brand they buy than previous generations

Southeast Asian centennials, also known as Generation Z, are not interested in prestigious or famous brands when they shop online, finds a new study by Econsultancy and Dentsu Aegis Media.

Over half of the 3,055 16- to 23-year-olds surveyed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam rated ‘free delivery’ or ‘fast delivery’ as the top driver for spending online, the survey found. Nearly half (46%) would abandon purchases if there was a charge for delivery.

This is a cost-conscious group overall: Low prices and availability of discounts or coupons was the second strongest factor influencing buying, and 73% rated ‘best prices’ as the key factor that would make them return to an online store to purchase products again. Just 15% said that an online store having a good reputation with their family or friends was an important quality.

While the purchasing power of these young people may not yet be huge—half spend over US$30 a month online and just 9% spend over $100—the size of this population segment, combined with its high connectivity rates has brought it firmly to the attention of marketers.

There are an estimated 277 million people under the age of 23 in Southeast Asia. This is over a third of the total population of 633 million, of which over half are monthly active internet users. 90% use smartphones, and mobile internet users spent an average of 3.6 hours a day on their phones.

The survey echoes previous findings that centennials like to shop anytime, anywhere. The majority of this age group likes to conduct detailed research of prices and reviews, is excited about futuristic shopping technology like virtual reality, and wants to be delivered relevant recommendations—76% are happy to share their data with a website to secure these, the survey finds. 

97% of these young people say they engage in ‘webrooming’ (browsing online before shopping in a store) and 90% like ‘showrooming’ (browsing in a shop before going online to buy). Showrooming is particularly common when buying products that need ‘sensory examination’, such as clothes, electronic items and beauty products. 

72% prefer shopping online to buying in a physical shop, both on websites like Amazon and Alibaba and through social-media and chat apps. 62% use more than one device at a time while browsing. However it is worth noting that just 20% of those surveyed agreed ‘strongly’ that they prefer online shopping. Online may not be the only future: 18% said they ‘disagree’ with the statement they would shop online at all in the future.

"Centennials need more than just an engaging brand campaign to entice them to spend money," said Arvind Sethumadhaven, chief strategy and innovation officer Asia-Pacific at Dentsu Aegis Network, in the report. "Having an end-to-end positive brand experience is now more important than ever. The whole purchase journey should be seamless. From the moment they see a piece of your brand content, attend a sponsored event, view your product online and finally when they hold your product in their hands, everything needs to have been on message, on time and honest."

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