Dentsu Aegis Network, in collaboration with Econsultancy, launched Here Comes the Centennial: Southeast Asia’s New Generation of Shoppers, a white paper investigating the online buying behaviour of centennials – consumers of the future – in the region. Launched on the sidelines of FUTR Asia 2018 Summit, the study finds that, despite the surge in online shopping, cash is still king for centennials in the digital age, and shopping on social media platforms is the new norm.
Despite being digital natives, the concept of a cashless society has yet to fully take off for centennials in six countries surveyed, as 56 per cent of survey respondents still prefer paying cash on delivery for their purchases. The next generation of online shoppers also enjoy having a variety of payment methods, as 43 per cent of centennials will readily abandon their purchases because their preferred payment option is not available.
Having grown up in the smartphone era, centennials are also using social media platforms differently compared to previous generations in their buying journey. Social media applications (47 per cent) such as Facebook and Instagram are the second most popular place for centennials to shop in. Close to half of the survey respondents (49 per cent) also turn to social media when they are researching for more information on their future purchases, rather than asking friends (45 per cent) and family (27 per cent).
Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, said: “All eyes are on Southeast Asia as the world’s next consumer powerhouse, with its young population and increasing purchasing power. Close to 280 million centennials – tomorrow’s consumers – call this region home. Enabled more than ever before by technology and data, we are seeing incredible potential for growth in the region and our latest research ‘Here Comes the Centennial: Southeast Asia’s New Generation of Shoppers’, helps us understand what is important for these consumers of the future and how businesses can adapt and position effectively for Southeast Asia’s future retail landscape.”
Brand name and image is no longer a priority of centennials, making end-to-end brand experience more important than ever for retailers. Only 11 per cent cite having a prestigious or famous brand as one of their top three attributes when choosing where to shop. This means retailers need to work harder to get their brand experience perfect in order to capture the attention of tomorrow’s consumers.
Who are the Centennials? Why are they important?
Centennials – also known as Generation Z – are those who are born between now and 1995. Accounting for about 277 million of Southeast Asia’s population, 50 per cent of centennials spend more than USD30 a month on online shopping, while 9 per cent spend over USD100 monthly. The size of this new generation alone makes them attractive for retailers, but the behaviours of this group make them lucrative in terms of its online shopping and ecommerce potential.
This new generation will also soon be one of the world’s most demanding consumers who have high standards and expectations of the online shopping experience. Technology should be an integral part of this experience, as 82 per cent of centennials are excited about futuristic shopping technology such as virtual reality. Personalisation is key as well, as 76 per cent of respondents are happy to share data with websites, if it makes more relevant recommendations.
Jefrey Gomez, Managing Director, Econsultancy Asia Pacific, said: “Centennials are coming of age in an era when high speed internet is always available, and they expect technology and brand experiences that are fast, responsive, and seamless. The survey showed that 86 per cent of centennials will not use an app or website that takes too long to load and 82 per cent will not use an app or website that is difficult to navigate. This means that retailers can therefore no longer just provide well-designed stores or rely solely on brand campaigns to drive sales. Instead they need to focus on the utility of their online offering to make the purchasing journey easy to complete.”