IF you’re over 50 and feel you don’t quite get all the advertising that plays out in traditional and digital media these days, there is a reason for that. According to a new study, the median age of consumers in Southeast Asia is now 31.5 years old, making Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), the likely target of many businesses.
And rightly so, because the generation has increasing purchasing power. The study, Evolution of Southeast Asian Consumers, made by Euromonitor International’s Adhitya Nugroho and Leong Soon Yen, showed that the disposable income of Southeast Asian consumers have expanded by 235 percent from 1998 to 2023, with 53 percent living in urban households.
With the generation accounting for the largest working age group in Southeast Asia at 39 percent of the total working population, the region becomes a powerful force for consumption as the region accounts for 4.7 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Two in three people consist of the region’s working age population, with 63 million middle-class households, according to the study’s survey.
AI and all that
AS this developed, the global market research company separately listed the top global consumer trends for 2024:
Ask AI: New tools are evolving into co-creators for consumers, influencing their decisions and reshaping their expectations of brand engagement.
Delightful Distractions: Consumers seek an escape from daily stress and anxieties to break away from the mundane. Some 29 percent of consumers would be comfortable with brands tracking their emotions and personalizing experiences to their moods.
Greenwashed Out: While consumers are attempting to live more sustainably, they want governments and businesses to step up and show proof of their eco pledges.
Progressively Polarized: Consumers will not refrain from expressing their convictions. Social responsibility, political affiliation and sustainability initiatives will motivate spending.
Value Hackers: Some 44 percent of consumers planned to save more money in 2023, and are employing increasingly clever strategies to get the very best deals.
Wellness Pragmatists: Consumers are seeking fast and effective solutions to improve both their physical and mental well-being.
Consumption habits of Millennials
In a news statement, Alison Angus, Euromonitor’s Head of Innovation said: “Consumer preferences are closely linked to the sustainability agenda, technological progress and the impact of sociopolitical issues. Companies should handle sensitive subjects with caution while staying true to their brand›s core values.”
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, Millennials are also key to unlocking the next generation of consumers as they become parents of digital natives where 1 in 3 have regular access to smart appliances, and 1 in 6 have regular access to in-home voice assistants. “Gen Z and Alpha consumers in Southeast Asia grow up with seamless connectivity and are accustomed to having technology embedded in their daily lives,” said the study. Gen Z are those born between 1996 and 2010, while Alpha consumers are those born between 2010 and 2025.
To connect with Millennial consumers, producers, retailers, and advertisers need to know the generation’s key characteristics: They use technology (72 percent use it to improve their daily lives); pay for smart tech (41 percent would pay a premium for smart appliances and products); are shrewd shoppers (54 percent agree to shopping in stores that create engaging experiences); are willing to pay more (33 percent are willing to pay more for high quality); shop via social commerce for authenticity (73 percent influenced by friend/family recommendations); monthly shopping frequency (12 percent of millennials purchase electronics and appliances); and are willing to give up their privacy for personalization (38 percent are willing to share personal data for personalized and targeted offer deals).