Staff Reporters
Aug 21, 2020

Retail's dizzying evolution, and how APAC brands can find their way

To say there's diversity in the way retail is developing across APAC is a severe understatement. A new Bain & Company report attempts to make some sense of trends and provide tips for charting an effective course.

Retail's dizzying evolution, and how APAC brands can find their way

A new report from Bain & Company, The Future of Retail in Asia-Pacific: How to Thrive at High Speed, observes that in such a diverse region, there's no single path for brands to take when it comes to evolving their retail strategy.

Bain divides Asia-Pacific markets into four retail categories, each with its own trajectory (with non-APAC markets for comparison).

The report segments markets into four categories based on measures of digital disruption and "market maturity", which refers to traditional retail development such as physical selling space per capita. According to the report, the 'fast modernizers' have low levels of disruption and maturity today, but they are primed for disproportionate digital acceleration. These markets are likely to eventually resemble China, which stands on its own as a digital leader, exhibiting high disruption and low markers of market maturity. The 'mature followers' have high disruption and maturity, and are likely to exhibit measured evolution. The 'developing digitalizers' have low digital disruption and medium maturity; they will evolve into mature followers.

The report offers a series of charts that illustrate the challenges marketers face, including how best to capture digital engagement, whether to invest in physical space, and how to build an effective 'last mile' strategy to ensure speedy delivery of goods into consumer hands.

"Post-pandemic, all stages of the path to purchase are set to digitalize further", the report states.
"Why expand physical retail space in Asia-Pacific when e-commerce is moving so fast?", the report asks.
"The diversity of Asia-Pacific cities resists one-size-fits-all fulfillment", the report says.

The report goes into detail on six areas where "the nimblest executive teams are seizing opportunities" to gain an edge over rivals: 

  • Reinventing their value proposition
  • Winning digital engagement
  • Futureproofing assets and operations
  • Mastering the last mile and supply chain resilience
  • Defining their ecosystem destination
  • Retooling for digital. 
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