These drastic changes are likely to alter how things stand in the upcoming decade. It could be useful to make a projection of what the market is going to look like in 5 years’ time. This is information could be vital in making the correct business decisions.
Many Asian cities are skipping the credit card revolution and going straight to mobile payments. A large number of countries, led by China, are adopting a cashless ecosystem and services such as Alipay and WeChat have ever increasing user bases. Integrating this into retail will be essential and failure to do so will be costly. Nobody seems to like cash anymore.
Most Asian countries are overpopulated and a large population means a need for a large amount of economic opportunities. This will see an vast amount of people moving into the urban centres and will create a number of opportunities as well as challenges.
A much larger market is going to exist: moving to the city generally means better paid jobs and consequently, more purchasing power. This is definitely good for retail. Additionally, a diverse population will create diverse needs, leading to market innovation and product diversification.
Relatively lower purchasing power will be compensated by sheer population density. If most of the consumers in a particular area are on the lower end of the economic spectrum, numbers alone mean you can still make you a significant profit, especially for a smart seller who knows how to make a connection with the customer.
The population relocating into the city will require massive infrastructural overhaul and policy change to keep all its inhabitants accommodated and to keep the market stable. The fact that certain countries in Asia still struggle with government transparency and democracy means that there is a high chance of mismanagement which will affect the market.
Dining out, going to the movies or theme parks and other forms of entertainment are all on the rise across Asia. It is likely that a cultural shift towards spending on experiences as opposed to spending on products will become prevalent through Asia.
Retail is becoming dynamic and its employees are likely to become more short-term and gig-based simply because of the unpredictable nature of retail in the coming days. This will be more popular among the youth, who are already showing a trend of not wanting to commit to long-term jobs.
Mobile phones are already the preferred method of accessing the internet and this will create more retail opportunities going forward. As already seen by the success of Alibaba, Asians have embraced e-commerce and being able to position oneself as the country leader in any form of e-commerce will certainly yield great results.
Digital touchpoints will likely become people’s biggest exposure to sellers and being able to master and make the most of digital touchpoints will ultimately determine whether or not your business takes off.
Change is the only constant and any business that refuses to evolve is bound to fail. But these statements are truer than ever given the incredible pace of change in Asia at the moment. For one to succeed and thrive in this environment, keeping tabs on the pace of things will be essential.