Market research company Nielsen recently published insights about Asia’s retail landscape during the digital disruption. Two words were consistently used: ‘change’ and ‘uncertainty’.
How have the last five years affected Asian consumers, and in turn, retail performance?
1. Increasingly comfortable consumers
Almost three out of four Asia Pacific consumers believe they are financially comfortable enough to buy things because they want them. This correlates with the upgrade in everyday items, where Asian consumers are choosing more premium versions of daily necessities like milk and shampoo.
Asia Pacific benefits from vast opportunities within its own borders. This is a region with burgeoning population growth, a predominantly young workforce, improving living standards and a growing middle class with an increasing desire to spend.
Two out of three consumers across the region feel they are better off than they were five years ago, the global average is 55%.
2. More access to technology and products
61% of consumers in Asia Pacific cite ‘improved technology’ as the key service they didn’t have access to five years ago.
Access to better technology, increasing internet penetration and the rise of different online platforms mean that consumers in Asia Pacific constantly have new ways to shop, to interact with each other, and are always accessible.
37% of respondents from Asia Pacific also cite “better retail formats” as something new that did not exist five years prior.
Very simply, Southeast Asians are more financially stable than five years ago, have more access to a variety of products and technology that enables them to live comfortably. This has resulted in the much-discussed ‘ecommerce boom‘ and will continue to allow the online retail industry to flourish.
This is also the first time Nielsen has included a portion of survey results from consumers in Myanmar, an indication that the country’s developing economy will play a more significant role in Southeast Asia’s growth as a retail market to look out for. For more on Myanmar, read eIQ Insights on the country’s ecommerce potential here.
Survey results included in…
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms
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