FMCG manufacturers and retailers have struggled to deliver significant rates of growth in the first half of 2015, with average sales volumes across the Asia-Pacific region increasing by a moderate 2%.
However, there have been success stories for retailers that deliver unique experiences to customers, particularly in ecommerce, the convenience store and small-format channels.
The Asia Pacific Retail & Shopper Trends 2015 highlights seven defining trends that offer a roadmap for retailers and manufacturers to navigate a changing environment.
THE GROWTH CHALLENGE
While top level growth is elusive for many bricks-and-mortar retailers, small format and ecommerce is making inroads across Southeast Asia.
Increasing urbanisation, smaller families, better public health, greater access to education and an ageing population have created an increasingly stratified consumer profile. These consumers have varying demands that may force retailers and manufacturers to modify their mass-market strategies.
Small-format and traditional trade retailers that maximise convenience and impulse purchases are gaining market share. Retailers delivering products that satisfy shopping needs beyond an impulse buy, acting as an extension of the consumer’s pantry and offering convenient services catering to their “on the go” lifestyles will continue to erode the market share of large format stores.
THE URGE TO UPGRADE
Sales volumes of products priced at 20% or more above their category average have grown by 21% in Southeast Asia and 23% in China in the past 12 months. This emerging trend, called “premiumisation”, is set to accelerate as consumers hunt high-quality and luxury products.
Personal care and drug stores are becoming increasingly important, highlighting consumers’ focus on products delivering health benefits.
SEEKING VALUE, ONLINE AND OFF
Spending on promotions – both online and at bricks-and-mortar stores – is trending upwards across Asia. Smart retailers can appeal to this need for value but should understand that price is an increasingly important driver of store choice.
A DIGITAL FUTURE
Some 82% of Asia-Pacific consumers consider online shopping convenient and about half will go online to shop in the next six months. Online shopping apps and growing smartphone ownership mean an ecommerce platform for FMCG retailers is a necessity.
While prevailing forces and headwinds will make for a challenging year ahead, the path to growth has never been more apparent: to win at the checkout, retailers and manufacturers must exceed consumer expectations and appeal to experiential demands. The most successful retailers and manufacturers are using the best elements of a physical store and a strong digital presence to deliver seamless customer experiences.
Insights contained in this article are based on the 2015 Nielsen Asia Pacific Retail & Shopper Trends Report, a comprehensive report on retail trends across 13 markets. The report includes analysis specific to each market, including a macroeconomic overview, consumer and retail trends, and forward-looking insights. Statistics included in the report include market dynamics data, store universe numbers and a summary of chain stores by category. The data in the report is drawn from sources that include the Nielsen Consumer Panel, the Nielsen Retail Index and the Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, and the Global Survey of E-commerce.