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Asia leads on customisation

News, 02 March 2016

GLOBAL: China, India and Japan are among the countries most focused on product customisation and a majority of business leaders around the world expect that future growth in this area will largely be driven by consumers in emerging markets.

According to a new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – Made to order: Customisation advances in emerging markets – 78% of 525 business leaders surveyed across 14 countries said that demand for product personalisation will soon be greater in emerging markets than developed markets.

But there are some major obstacles to actually meeting this demand, not least the state of supply chains, which are not ready to support such strategies and which will require upgrading.

Manufacturing facilities, distribution networks, logistics, financing and payment systems and data capabilities are other areas where current limitations may be exposed by a growing desire for product customisation.

Asia is expected to generate significant demand for such products. The study revealed that China, India and Japan are the top three countries where executives said mass customisation will be a focus of their product strategies over the next three years.

"Innovative technologies, growing wealth in many emerging markets and globalisation are fuelling tremendous demand for mass customisation," according to Kevin Plumberg, the Singapore-based editor of the report.

"That will place increasing pressure on supply chains to be flexible, as production runs become smaller and on demand," he added. "Companies will have to figure out demand and how to meet it in real time."

Marketers will also have to address the issue which is the theme of the Admap Prize 2016 – the shortlist will be announced in the coming weeks.

Editor Colin Grimshaw noted that personalisation was a buzz topic in Cannes last year. "It is potentially the greatest opportunity for brands, and potentially changes everything for brand owners and agencies," he said.

Data sourced from EIU; additional content by Warc staff