This year has got brands in various industries to develop fulcrums or ideas to survive in the new norm.
While the New Year doesn’t guarantee a better year for business, this hugely uncertain year alone has at least prepared many to prepare for future unforeseen challenges.
Think with Google released its Asia Pacific Year In Search 2020 report, which analyzed the growth in searches in 2020 to identify five key consumer trends brands need to consider to start strong in 2021. Here is a summary of the results.
1. People want to feel included
Think with Google’s 2020 findings show that 50% of APAC consumers believe the practice of inclusivity is important to them.
The Year In Search reports that users in the APAC region are increasingly discreetly researching how to deal with social stigmatization and topics that are traditionally taboo.
Some data in support of this report are:
- 25% more searches for gender inequality in Indonesia year over year.
- 250% YoY searches in the Philippines for “What to say to someone who is depressed?”
- 250% Increase in Disabled Etiquette Searches in India Year Over Year.
An example of a Malaysian brand working with this consumer trend is Sunway Putra Mall, which launches autism-friendly shopping on Tuesdays to increase support and awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
To make the shopping experience more enjoyable for the autism community, the mall introduced facilities such as a quiet room and a mind wall, dimmed the lights and reduced the music volume.
2. Environmental friendliness Is the rising standard
This year alone there was a 65% increase in searches for “reusable” products in Malaysia compared to 30% in the previous year compared to 2018.
To delve even deeper into this trend, the Year In Search 2020 for Malaysia states the following:
- 285% more searches for “metal straw” compared to the previous year.
- 85% more searches for “eco-shops” compared to the previous year.
- 70% more searches for “hybrid cars” compared to the previous year.
In addition to products, this report also highlights data on Malaysians who are educating themselves to be more environmentally conscious:
- 75% more search queries compared to the previous year.
- 34% more searches for the “CO2 footprint” year-on-year.
- 110% more searches for “sustainable fashion” compared to the previous year.
The report also highlights the shift from eco-status to eco-shame in this trend, with buying green being less about the status of enrollment and more about the shame of rejection.
Brands should take this opportunity to find ways to make their business greener and more transparent, which will attract consumers who share the same values.
3. Brands need to find ways to fit in with consumers’ lives
People will look for brands that speak to them and that they understand. For example, this can be done through their beliefs or simply by providing a service in their local language.
In Malaysia, for example, there was 550% year-over-year growth in searches for halal versions of brands such as “Toblerone Halal”, “Ovaltine Halal” and “Biscoff Halal”.
Brands need to be aware of their consumers’ lifestyles and find ways to ensure that their products and services fit and make it easier for consumers to accept and keep them in their lives.
In Google Marketing, they found that click-through rates are consistently higher when using ad copies in the local language, even when users work in English-language browsers.
“It was 17% in Hong Kong and Taiwan and 34% in Indonesia. This shows how important it is for companies to challenge digital norms,” said Sebastiaan Burgmans, director of SMB Ads Marketing at Google APAC, in the report .
4. Consumers are looking for sparkles of joy
In a year of grief and loss, consumers are looking for products or content that are fun while also allowing them to take a break from the challenges.
Year In Search 2020 results showed that APAC is the only region where “having a positive attitude” is rated as the most important factor in “spending time with family” and “being financially secure”.
In Malaysia, they noticed a 55% increase in “mukbang” searches, which is a South Korean food show genre, for those unfamiliar with it. We also had an increase in searches for “memes”.
When people spend more time at home, they invest in small indulgences that can improve their quality of life or make sense.
Self-care, ways to show love and care for family and friends, and lighthearted content are some of the most popular trends people are looking for today.
5. People are future-proof for their own lives
Companies aren’t the only ones who want to be risk averse. With the uncertainties ahead, even consumers are now risk averse, securing and strengthening their economic prospects.
In APAC, the Year In Search study finds there is an increasing number of consumers who are improving their skills and financial knowledge, and building their sideline jobs to survive. This year there was one:
- 100% increase in the “top online learning platforms” in Malaysia year-on-year.
- Increase in “Basics of Digital Marketing” in India by 400% compared to the previous year.
- Stock investment in Vietnam increased 35% year over year, compared with a 10% decrease last year.
One way brands can do justice to this new risk-averse crowd is to offer products and services as part of a try-before-you-buy model that also future-proofs the business itself.
EcoWorld, a Malaysian real estate developer, is an example that is incorporating this into its business. They devised a rental program where people could try a home before deciding whether to buy it or not, with the option to contribute up to 30% of the rent towards the price of the home.
Another startup we’ve written about is Scentses + Co, which sells you samples of designer perfumes so you can decide whether it’s worth committing to a full bottle.
- More lists we’ve written about can be found here.
- You can read other business trends that we wrote about here.
Selected image source: Sekeping Serendah from Zati Lutpii / Nude Zero Waste Store