The top trends shaping Asian grocery in 2019

Date : 29 November 2018

We’ve identified the top five trends shaping the Asian retail market and influencing retailer strategy in 2019 and beyond. Nick Miles, our head of Asia-Pacific, discusses each one and reveals what it means for suppliers in the region.

The top five trends

  1. Ultimate convenience
  2. Partnerships shaping the future of online
  3. Health and freshness at the heart
  4. Social shopping
  5. Technology transformation

1. Ultimate convenience

Changing lifestyles mean shoppers across Asia are becoming increasingly demanding. Shopping little and often is a growing trend and consumers expect to be able to source products anywhere, anytime and anyhow they like.

Retailers are adapting their operations in response. Convenience store chains continue to rapidly expand their networks and stores are using space in new ways. Retailers are developing smaller, more unique stores, and online delivery times are being cut.

Nick said: “Convenience is not purely about speed. Retailers that are able to meet different shopper demands through their stores, ranges, services and the experience they offer will win. These experiences will need to be fast, relevant and seamless. So, suppliers will need to ensure they also have the necessary flexibility in their businesses.”

2. Partnerships shaping the future of online

Over the past few years, major partnerships have helped share expertise and accelerate online growth across Asia. These partnerships come in many forms as retailers, suppliers and technology businesses increasingly look to blur the boundary between offline and online. In 2019, we expect to see more partnerships emerge, existing ones develop further and the influence of Asia’s largest online players to spread across the region.

Nick said: “Asia’s online landscape is incredibly fluid and competitive. Collaboration between partners will help online expand both within individual markets and across borders, faster than previously thought. Suppliers should ensure they stay on top of the latest online partnerships.”

3. Health and freshness at the heart

Asian shoppers are increasingly aware of the importance of healthy living, fresh food, nutrition and product sourcing. That’s thanks to factors like growing levels of affluence, improved education, targeted government campaigns and historical food safety scares. Retailers are responding by highlighting healthy ranges and freshness using innovative concepts, layouts and technologies.

Nick said: “Fresh food, foodservice options and health and wellness ranges will feature more prominently in-store in the future as retailers respond to changing shopping habits. Suppliers should be aware that competition for space in-store will intensify.”

4. Social shopping

Social commerce is rapidly growing in importance across Asia. Brand communication via social media platforms is commonplace, influencing shopper behaviour and giving smartphone users easy ways to shop online. Innovations will continue to emerge in 2019, as retailers and suppliers deliver targeted marketing and new ways to make online shopping more social.

Nick said: “Shopping via social media platforms is a key route to market in the region. Retailers and suppliers must therefore truly understand the landscape and have a clear social media strategy to engage shoppers and stay relevant.”

5. Technology transformation

Asian consumers are exceptionally open to new technology. In 2019 we will be keeping a close eye on digital and technological innovations in Asia. We’ll look particularly at those helping retailers to differentiate their offer and raise service levels. Those that help them develop stores set up for an online future and deliver more efficient operations in the face of rising costs.

Nick said: “Technology is revolutionising the food and grocery industry in Asia. This could have big implications for how shoppers interact with brands in store in the future. However, it’s not only about a focus on customers – it’s also about reducing costs and improving efficiency. Suppliers need to understand which technologies are set to have the biggest impact on their category.”

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