Stop the press! No wait, carry on… The Google Insights for Brands Report 2020 for ASEAN is in and our resident Technologist Joseph Smith hilariously dissects what we all know we want; convenience, best value and salted-egg snacks.
By Joseph Smith
The key takeaway about consumer behaviour is we are all moving more and more online as our default go-to for entertainment, information and commerce. When unravelling the stats increases and moving beyond individual fads e.g. salted egg damn everything, it is delicious – and the person who searched for salted egg toothpaste is blameless – one thing is clear, in Singapore and the ASEAN region, all we want is good old fashioned value with convenience.
Convenience an inescapable theme from the stats this year
The searches for (insert thing) near me, (insert thing) delivery, (insert menial) job done, is increasing and sometimes exponentially. It’s little wonder then that this also correlates with searches that show in Singapore at least, a fast-paced work-life is driving searches for ‘better work life balance’, ‘living with less stress’ and generally getting out of the 9-5 (just joking this is Singapore) 8-7 rat race; which all seem to be short-term fixes for some kind of peripheral malaise with modern life.
For our retail readers, the report leads us to ask whether there is a Bubble in the Bobba Tea market? In this category, the Google Report claims some terms are seeing a 2,000+ growth, like Tiger Sugar!? I had to Google that too, and in the process, may have also started a new trend with the newly-minted search phrase ‘will the Tiger be angry I am taking his sugar?’ Funny side note, I’d be careful how many Bobba teas you sink into your diet
Another not so surprising insight is Singaporean obsession with food. Heard of ghost pepper? Well apparently, when you get tired of eating ‘molten lava’ – this is the chilli for you at 1 million Scoville Heat Units, and impossible burgers making a big debut in Singapore with a 1,000+% increase in search terms for vegan patties, not to mention the ever delicious truffle fries. Also to make the list is ‘hybrid fusion’ – Google it.
On the media consumption front, in the words of Russel Crowe in Gladiator “Are you not entertained?” the report claims that both Philippines and Indonesia have seen a whopping 95% of internet users watching video content on mobile. This does lead us to wonder if this viewing preference will influence how movies, series and short video content will be shot to best suit the mobile format… try watching Gladiator on a mobile the arena scenes; looks more like flies squabbling over the last of the salted-egg crumbs.
For readers whose bubba tea is half-full, what is interesting to note is throughout the region, we are becoming more interested in how things are made, what they are made of and the ethicality of our purchases.
With increases in searches for ‘single-use plastic alternatives’ may be due thanks in part to the Thailand Government for taking measures to regulate single-use plastics. In Malaysia, search terms shows increasing interest in sustainable fashion, bio-degradable plastics and metal straws – which grew by 110%, 70% and 285% respectively.
On banking trends, a rad Oliva Newton John ‘Let’s Get Digital’ remix appears to be in order, alas, however, some in this part of the world may have to wait as ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are witnessing search term growth between 290-500% by consumers looking for digital payments, financing and online banking options.
For thrifty-minded folk (everyone knows who you are) ASEAN nations understand value! Retailers, you better be prepared for a world where your customers are hyper-informed and carry out more checks on your products and services than a zealous TSA Agent on a slow day. Comparison sites are compared against comparison sites like a Ponzi scheme that would bring a tear to Bernie Madoff’s eye. Getting meta for a second, “Best value”, “Best product” would be terms I would be incorporating into my online presence to capture the eyes of hungry consumers. In Thailand 1 in 5 consumers are doing online research while physically in your store – so if your price point sucks, probably best to work out of a basement or lead-lined facility.
Lastly, more popular than Dan Browns DaVinci Code are Promo codes. These are the secret to getting price and value conscious consumers hooked on your salted egg goodness and even more important, when talking about luxury brands for accessories like handbags.
In summary, 2019 in Google land has deep-dived into our minds to reveal ASEAN consumers –
Want best value (code talk for the cheapest when it comes to commoditised items like handbags)
If you can’t deliver it to my door, then you better be close and I better be able to find you on google maps
Everyone is online, so I hope you are too. If your customers can’t find you, research your products and services and buy from you online, better foreclosure early and cut your loses.
I hope your message is clear in mobile format because that is now replacing pretty much all forms of media consumption as the primary delivery mechanism; and
People care about what you do, how you do it and what you put into your products.
In short it’s never been a better time to be an informed consumer and businesses that can lean into instead of resisting the tide, would fare well.
(Ed. With over 25 years’ experience working at the pointy end of B2B IT, Joseph Smith is a well respected industry technologist based in Singapore.)