SEA Markets, Here's What You Need To Do!

ZALORA shares how SEA markets can leverage on trends

Close to the end of another year! 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride especially for a lot of brands. Having to adapt to the pandemic as a brand is no easy feat, especially for brick-and-mortar stores. Adapting to the pandemic for the brands also means having to revise their whole marketing strategy!

And as it seems that the pandemic will not be ending anytime soon, it is time for brands to improvise to fit the current situation if they plan to stay buoyant as a business and leading online fashion, beauty and lifestyle destination ZALORA has shared their SEA Trender report for 2020 so businesses can learn and apply!

But, before delving into the methods of how you can profit from trends, you should first understand your consumers!

Understanding consumers and their habits

Southeast Asia is home to more than 655 million people - about 8.5 percent of the entire global population and this Asian subregion is also home to diversity; from Muslim mosques to Buddhist temples and even Christian churches, it is definitely melting pot of cultures. Being such a diverse place, there are bound to be a lot of festivities and celebrations for each race and religion whether it be in urban or remote areas.

According to ZALORA’s SEA Trender Report, Southeast Asia consumers are more occasion-driven. In Malaysia, there is a high demand for traditional clothing due to the number of festivities celebrated in the country; Eid, Deepavali, Thaipusam, Chinese New Year and many more. It is a niche yet highly popular product category.

Alia Bastamam’s Raya 2019 Collection / Image via FirstClasse

Additionally, Southeast Asians are also tech-savvy even in remote places! Unlike Western countries, Southeast Asian youths still reside with their parents, eliminating these youths from the commitment of heavy financial burdens such as a mortgage, taxes or even bills. This strong familial bond is what enables such young consumers to be fiscally liberated, often leading to an accelerated shopping habit exacerbated even further by social media.

So, maybe this is a sign for brands to switch to a digital platform? Especially during the situation revolving around the pandemic.

Hop on the trends bandwagon!

Now that you’ve studied your consumers; profile, interests, etc., you can finally figure out how to use trends to the best of your business’ advantage!

1. Monetising narratives
Turning your brand into a digitalised brand, it can be hard for consumers to grasp the USPs of your products. For instance, if you are a fashion brand, it is highly important that your customers know about your product thoroughly before they add said product to cart and checkout. You wouldn’t want a bad review now, do you?

Hence, moving into a digital direction, it is necessary for you to conduct live sessions or shoppertainment with well-recognised influencers for your consumers so they, as a consumer, can feel more connected to you and trust your brand better.

Most importantly, you have to ensure that your executed contents are localised! Now, why would you talk about winter outfit ideas when there has never been a drop of snow in SEA?

Michelle Phan reviewing EM Cosmetics serum blush

2. Sustainability and social consciousness
Consumers are now becoming more environmentally conscious than ever, hence sustainable fashion has become a huge topic in the fashion industry. Not only that, even animal-tested products are a sore subject. According to a recent survey done with ZALORA’s customers, about 90 per cent of participants presented some level of interest in shopping for sustainable products.

More crucially, shoppers want to spend their money on retailers whose brand values resonate with their personal views. On ZALORA’s first fashionably-sustainable campaign, products were observed to have increased twice fold in terms of conversion rate compared against another campaign happening at a similar period.

They have also recorded a high percentage of Southeast Asians from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore who are willing to pay at least 5% more for sustainable products with Singapore at 63% for both apparel and beauty products.

Image via Eco Warrior Princess

3. Augmented reality
Not to be confused with virtual reality, where users have to don a headgear to be able to see a different reality; augmented reality overlays an immediate surrounding with additional elements, through a camera lens.

For instance, your consumers are looking to buy a pair of shoes from your brand but are not sure of what they will look like on their feet. So, your brand’s platform should have the option for consumers to realistically imagine the look; hence, augmented reality.

However, it’s not just limited to apparel; most makeup brands also give consumers the option of augmented reality so consumers won’t make the mistake of buying the wrong shade of lipstick or foundation!

GIF via TechCrunch

4. Digital wallets

Unbeknownst to many, a financial revolution is fast emerging in Southeast Asia. With 250 million smartphone users, e-wallets are fast replacing conventional banking methods. Case in point: 49 per cent of urban commercial bank customers within the region already use e-wallets. It is projected that by 2025 the number of users will reach 84 per cent, spurred even further by the COVID-19 crisis which has prompted a sharp rise in digital payments and home delivery. In Malaysia itself, the percentage of Malaysians preferring to pay by cash upon delivery (cash on delivery) is only at 17%.

Image via The Star

5. Shopping festivals!
Who doesn’t love a huge blowout sale? Yes, no one hates it! If they said they did, they’re lying straight through their teeth. Let’s take the 11/11 sale that has happened recently. With bargains of up to 70 to 80 percent off a single item, it’s no wonder consumers flock in large quantities.

Perhaps one of the main contributors to this is the fact that such events enable Southeast Asians in rural or remote areas access to products that may not be widely available to them before. In archipelagic countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, shopping festivals incentivise businesses to reach every possible customer, while offering scarce products at the best possible rate.

Photo via Drapers

Through uncertain times such as now in Southeast Asia, it has caused the digital revolution to accelerate at immense speed, thus shaping a new consumer behaviour like never before.  

As a mobile-first community, Southeast Asia brands should really consider going digital and utilising the best digital marketing trends that will help their business stay afloat.

We would love to hear how your brand embraces the digital revolution. Share with us at!

Cover image via Asia Media International

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