Figures from researcher Kantar Worldpanel show that FMCG sales growth in the region is expected to be 5.2% in 2014, down from 8.8% in 2013. A further fall to 4.1% is anticipated for 2015.
Much of this is due to a slowdown in China, which accounts for 69% of the emerging Asian market. FMCG growth here has fallen by a third in the past two years, from 15.8% in the year to June 2012 to just 5.6% in year to June 2014.
"Packaged food is the largest element of Chinese consumers' budgets and sales have been particularly affected by the overall slowdown, growing by just 1.8% compared with 16.0% in the 12 months ending June 2012," said Jason Yu, General Manager at Kantar Worldpanel China.
"China´s FMCG momentum will resurge when growth on packaged food spending recovers," he predicted.
China's sheer size skews the overall figures for the region, where some markets continue to perform strongly, including Indonesia. Growth was slowing here too, down 3.6 points in the year to June, but at 15.0% it was almost three times the Asian average. And FMCG growth in India had almost doubled from 3.1% to 6.0%.
Kantar Worldpanel noted that brands launching new products in Indonesia had taken advantage of consumer appetites to try new goods, while shoppers in rural areas had more disposable income and were consequently spending more on consumer products.
Asia, particularly South Korea, was also leading the world in FMCG ecommerce and this channel will become increasingly important for brands, said Kantar.
Already more than half of all South Korean shoppers buy online, while in China, ecommerce is forecast to account for 3.3% of all FMCG sales by 2016. Beverages and personal care products were the categories currently performing best.
Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc staff