Technology is transforming Asian consumerism, but technology alone is not the point. What matters most is actually the supercharged lifestyles – the dreams – that technology enables. Because in the end, consumerism is still (and always will be) about people and their fundamental needs and wants.
According to Trend Watching, there are four tech-fueled trends that are reshaping Asian consumerism in 2016 and beyond.
All on Messaging
Over 43 percent of web traffic in Asia comes through mobile devices. As messaging app ecosystems continue to expand, they are becoming remote controls for day to day living. Asian consumers in particular, are broadening their digital expectations. They want their apps to do more. And, smart brands are responding by using messaging apps not only for shopping and content, but to offer lifestyle solutions. They are discovering innovative ways of using apps to solve social issues, provide financial services, and ultimately make life better.
In partnership with the Shanghai government, WeChat developed a series of new functions which allows users to check the nearest hospitals, see recommended doctors, and make medical appointments. Users can also pay utility bills through the WeChat wallet, access visa services, and browse books at the Shanghai Library.
The rise of online culture and e-commerce has inspired all kinds of new products and services. This has enabled to creation of new marketplaces and the ability to organize access to resources in new ways. Now, new directories and platforms are springing up to help consumers navigate social shopping.
From an Indonesian based platform Oiffel which lists all of the goods sold on Instagram to an app that brings together all of the home appliance brands in India, Handy home this category is ripe with innovation. Launched in Bangkok during December 2014, Parking Duck is an online marketplace which helps drivers find alternative parking spaces. While, GottaGo in India is a mobile app which lists clean restrooms nearby.
Bottom of the (Smart) Pyramid
Although we constantly hear about the rise of Asia’s affluent, urban middle class, the fact remains that most countries in the region are still developing. Countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and India all have internet speeds below the global average, but users in these regions spend the most time on the internet when compared to their Asian counterparts. These markets are driving much of Asia’s growth and making use of cutting-edge technologies that solve shared problems, make people safer, and improve quality of life.
One great example is Khushi, a smart necklace which keeps track of vaccinations designed for infants in the developing world, starting in India. mFish is a mobile app which helps Indonesian fisherman locate the best spots. While, the Escalator Project in India provides rural homes with mall generated electricity power.
63 percent of Japanese parents worry that their kids will become addicted to smartphones. Innovative brands are helping consumers cultivate healthier relationships with their digital devices, instead of depriving them altogether.
In April 2015, McDonald’s India launched a campaign https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdqE9AE7btA&feature=youtu.be to inspire people to ‘Share quality offline moments’. The campaign encouraged customers to connect with friends and family offline. Anyone using the #KuchPalOffline hashtag online was automatically entered into a draw to win a day-long adventure trip with their friends.