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Why omnichannel is key for businesses in Asia

Kareyst Lin | Aug. 29, 2016
A study by Experian and IDC reveals the disparities in consumer behaviour across Asian markets

Global information services company Experian shared findings from The Digital Consumer View 2016 (Asia) on 30 August 2016, to help businesses better understand digital consumers in Asia.

Produced with International Data Corporation (IDC), the report revealed how consumer behaviour varies across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China. Over 1,200 digital consumers were surveyed.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), digital commerce in the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) region will rise to US$17 trillion by 2019, up from US$7 trillion in 2015. The combination of rising incomes, increased consumption, acceleration of internet use, and the proliferation of mobile broadband access continues to unlock tremendous opportunities for marketers across the continent.

However, to capitalise on the growth of digital commerce in the region, businesses need to address the unique disparities in each market across Asia.  

The key differences in consumer behaviour include:

-Search and discovery: Social media is the most preferred channel for consumers in Singapore (31 percent), Malaysia (49 percent), Indonesia (67 percent) and Thailand (58 percent).  However, video ads (63 percent) trumps all in the Hong Kong market, while the Chinese consumers' prefer chat apps (47 percent).

-Triggering product interest: Social media is the key driver in Singapore (28 percent), Malaysia (44 percent), Thailand (49 percent) and Hong Kong (25 percent). However, in Indonesia it's SMS (62 percent), and in China it is chat apps (48 percent). 

-Triggering purchase intent: Email is the biggest driver of online to offline conversion in Singapore (27 percent), while SMS tops in Indonesia (57 percent). Social media is most preferred for the Malaysian (44 percent) and Thailand (51 percent) markets, while video ads tie with social media in the Hong Kong (23 percent) market. Chat apps are once again the most influential in this aspect to the Chinese consumers (45 percent).

-Finding good deals: For unplanned purchases stemming from promotions, email leads in Singapore (34 percent); social media in Malaysia (50 percent), Indonesia (68 percent) and Thailand (58 percent); SMS in Hong Kong (36 percent), and social media in China (51 percent).

-Brand engagement: Email is key for marketers to build engagement in Singapore (58 percent) and Thailand (60 percent); chat apps in Malaysia (62 percent) and China (70 percent); banner ads in Indonesia (56 percent), and SMS in Hong Kong (61 percent). While email is important, marketers need to be wary - more than 70 percent of consumers reported receiving too many emails, up from 52 percent in 2015.

These findings signal the importance of an omnichannel strategy. Instead of relying on a single marketing channel, marketers need to carefully select the right mix of channel to employ.  

"The challenge lies in the fact that the region has extraordinary differences - language, economy, purchasing power - and consumer behaviours, especially with the digital generation," said Shiv Putcha, Associate Director, Consumer Mobility and Telco Strategy, IDC Asia Pacific. "That uniqueness will not diminish over the next few years and may even increase, making it challenging for marketers not using data-driven insights to research, plan and execute effectively."


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