Shopper habits change in Asia

31 October 2011

SINAGPORE: Sales of fast-moving consumer goods posted a double-digit increase in Asia Pacific in the second quarter of this year, but many local shoppers are adopting new habits in an effort to save money.

Nielsen, the research firm, reported that the sales value of consumer goods in the region rose by 14.3% during Q2 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

This marked an acceleration from the steady growth rate of around 12% recorded during the previous four quarters, and can be measured against the expansion rates of between 6.6% and 8.1% delivered between Q1 and Q4 2009.

More specifically, volume sales delivered 7.4 percentage points of growth from April to June this year, with unit value sales responsible for the remaining seven percentage points of growth.

The contribution of value sales to the overall positive trend was more than three times that recorded in the second quarter of last year, suggesting inflation is playing an important role.

"Consumers, who are faced with almost uniform pricing across all consumer goods retailers are trying to maximise their shopping experience by finding non-price factors that will give them added value to the money they have to spend," said Peter Gale, Nielsen's managing director, retailer services.

Based on a survey of 6,500 internet users in 13 markets, Nielsen found 59% of shoppers rated good value as the key factor in determining which products they bought and the retailers they visited.

A convenient location scored 57% on this metric, while stock availability logged 50% and selling a varied assortment yielded 48%.

Some 69% of Indonesian respondents and 63% of their Malaysian counterparts viewed price as the most important factor impacting where they shopped, the only countries where this was the top-ranking criteria.

A 60% majority of Australians and 55% of their counterparts in New Zealand afforded a similar status to stock availability, the most important factor in these nations.

Some 55% of respondents are buying items on sale, peaking at 78% in Malaysia and 74% in both New Zealand and Vietnam. Totals fell to 54% in China, 45% in Indonesia and 40% in India.

Another 55% of the panel are using coupons to save money, and 44% are purchasing larger value packs.

Elsewhere, 77% of consumers would be keen to take advantage of online shopping and home delivery formats, hitting 88% in China, 81% in Vietnam and 71% in Taiwan. Another 60% would like to use handheld scanners to avoid queuing in stores. 

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff