With a population of some 655 million, south east Asia is a lucrative, if complex opportunity for brands and marketers to mine. While the pandemic may have acted as a catalyst to shift a significant share of purchase and consumption online, a majority of consumers now expect these shifts to stick, after the pandemic eases, a Zalora Trender report reveals.
Here are five things we learnt from this report.
1. Women consumers lead the way: in SEA, women contribute to 80% of all household purchases, outshopping men by 20%, and spend 40% more time on online retailers. Women shoppers are dominating and driving growth in segments ranging from luxury goods to fitness gear.
2. Challenges tapping burgeoning Gen Z demand: The region is home to over 200 million millennials and Gen Z who are expected to comprise the largest shopping base in years to come as they reach mid 20s and higher disposable incomes. With reports highlighting the obstacles faced in targeting these young individuals – a recalibration of approaches is most likely needed.
In countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, modest wear online sales have become exceedingly popular as Muslim shoppers begin to experiment with fashion. This has given way to a rise of homegrown designers catering to niche market. Other external factors like pop culture, occupation, and hobbies play significant roles in shaping Southeast Asia’s complex fashion consumer pool.
3. Shape-shifting demand: The demand online moved from high fashion to sports and activewear, loungewear, children’s wear, beauty and home and living products. According to Zalora, triple digit growth is seen across these categories in the last two quarters. For example, In the recent 10.10 sales campaign ZALORA saw a 400% increase in children’s wear and 220% in beauty.
4. Growing interest in sustainability: The report shared that 90% of customers who answered the survey presented some level of interest in shopping for sustainable products and over half were willing to pay a premium for these products. The majority came from Singapore and the Philippines, where 63% and 61% respectively claim they will “definitely purchase sustainable products."
5. Home comforts: With more time spent indoors due to prolonged social distancing, it makes sense for consumers to want to elevate their living spaces to meet demands of living, working and playing at home. For many, this "nesting" or investing in their own homes makes for a comforting alternative to travel and high-end designer purchases on which they would normally spend. Consider recent Google results which showed plant searches online grew by 43% in Singapore, 97% in Malaysia, and 80% in Indonesia. Illustratively, Zalora has launched its own home and living offering on its Filipino website, and during the 10.10 shopping event, the category achieved triple-digit growth, up as much as 400% in some regions.
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