Singapore – A staggering 62% of APAC consumers, compared to 49% globally, express a desire for an AI clone by 2035 to manage shopping, administrative, and communication tasks for them, according to a report from dentsu.

The report also highlighted outsourcing trends, revealing that 88% of APAC consumers, the highest globally, are inclined to delegate work and personal scheduling duties to AI assistants, with several countries scoring notably above the regional average.

As more APAC consumers turn to AI assistants, dentsu’s study also predicts the rise of AI gatekeepers. These AI entities will manage recurring purchases, vet ads, and represent consumers in focus groups, streamlining brand interactions. The report indicates strong support for this trend, with 85% of APAC consumers wanting an AI assistant for these tasks by 2035, compared to a global average of 77%.

Interestingly, 70% of APAC consumers believe that by 2035, relationships with AI companions could be as fulfilling and rewarding as human relationships. This sentiment is particularly strong in India (81%) and China (78%).

With all these shifts, the report states that brands will need to become more perceptive in order to garner consumer attention in the AI-filtered and culturally reshaped reality on the horizon.

Consequently, consumers will increasingly prioritise emotional connections with brands, with 75% stating that their mood significantly influences purchase decisions. The study also reveals that most consumers wish to be more impulsive and actively seek experiences that evoke strong emotions.

Commenting on the report, Dominic Powers, chief growth officer at dentsu APAC, remarked, “Consumer Vision 2035 unveils the dawn of a transformative era across technology, culture, and consumer expectations. As we navigate towards an AI-filtered future, businesses must proactively adapt to meet evolving consumer needs. These insights serve as a compass for people-centred transformation, fostering long-term brand resilience and innovation.”

Singapore – Over three in five (42%) Singaporeans who enjoy camping or caravanning during holidays consider automotive brand BMW to be a ‘leader in innovation and technology’, a survey by YouGov found. 

Tesla comes in second, with one in three (32%) viewing it as an innovation leader, followed by Audi (26%), Toyota (24%), and Mercedes-Benz (23%), where a quarter say the same.

Meanwhile, Hyundai and Mitsubishi (all 14%) tie for the sixth spot among camping and caravanning enthusiasts, just before Mazda, KIA, and Porsche (all 13%), who are in seventh place, and Suzuki (11%) in eighth.

Finally, Lexus and Jaguar (both 10%) and Nissan and Infiniti (both 9%) round up the top 10 automotive brands most viewed as technologically innovative in Singapore.

Interestingly, when taking all Singapore consumers into consideration, Tesla overtakes BMW as the brand most seen as a leader in innovation and technology, while Toyota comes in third before Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

At the heart of entrepreneurial success lies a keen, observant eye and an unwavering passion for bridging gaps in the market. For one visionary entrepreneur, his journey began with a profound realisation born from contrasting market trends across diverse regions. 

For MARKETECH APAC’s latest Milestone Series, we spoke with Rajiv Lamba, CEO and founder of SurveySensum and global managing director of NeuroSensum, to talk about one of his greatest milestones — creating an innovative AI-powered solutions platform to uncover deep consumer insights and democratise market research. 

In this piece, Lamba shares the inspiration behind the inception of SurveySensum and his journey in understanding consumer behaviour through technology and data-driven insights.

A vision realised through data 

Lamba’s journey began when he started observing contrasting market trends across different regions. Early in his career, he had some profound realisations, having noticed a stark difference in how consumers in the West versus those in Southeast Asia approached sharing feedback and preferences with brands.

“In Southeast Asian cultures, consumers would rarely provide direct, critical feedback in quantitative surveys, often claiming they liked a product or advertisement even if they didn’t,” Lamba explained. 

The observations Lamba made sparked his passion for bringing neuroscience principles into the market research realm through NeuroSensum, a neuroscience and AI-technology-based market research company. By leveraging tools like electroencephalography (EEG), facial coding, and eye-tracking, Lamba and his team could finally unveil the unspoken truths lingering in the subconscious minds of consumers. For him, it was an exhilarating experience to be able to unlock profound insights for their clients. 

However, as he delved deeper into the market research landscape, another glaring issue became apparent to him. Lamba identified that there is still a lack of fast, affordable, and accessible solutions for enterprises of all sizes. A staggering number of businesses couldn’t regularly leverage research consultancies due to the exorbitant costs and lengthy timelines involved.

Recognising the need for affordable and accessible market research solutions, Lamba founded SurveySensum under the Neurosensum umbrella. SurveySensum is an AI-powered customer experience platform that could democratise real-time customer feedback, making it a reality for mid-sized and large enterprises alike. 

“I envisioned a future where companies could rapidly build and share omnichannel surveys, gaining invaluable consumer insights at a fraction of research agencies’ cost, and enterprises could do more consumer research and make data-backed decisions,” Lamba shared. 

Building the vision, one piece of data at a time 

While the idea of launching SurveySensum holds a lot of promise for the industry, pioneering a disruptive technology is never without its challenges. Sceptics doubted the shift from traditional methods to a DIY customer feedback SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution.

However, no amount of doubt made Lamba let go of his vision, a strong belief that would soon pay him off tremendously. SurveySensum has grown into a platform that now serves over 170 large and mid-sized enterprises globally, spanning sectors as diverse as FMCG, telecommunications, banking, insurance, e-commerce, healthcare, retail, and automotive. 

What started as a vision has finally materialised into a platform that has helped clients save a remarkable 70–80% on their market research spending and up to 90% in overall time invested. 

Commenting on those challenges, Lamba stated, “My team and I persevered, fueled by our profound conviction that AI would inevitably reshape this industry. We doubled down on defining our target personas, educating them on the immense value SurveySensum could unlock, and demonstrating our real-world impact through our work.” 

It is interesting to note that while he’s working on SurveySensum, Lamba also serves as the global managing director at NeuroSensum, which means he was juggling both responsibilities across both entities. 

He revealed that his primary goals have been to generate consistent cash flow through a blend of internal profitability and external funding, while also exploring new avenues for growth, differentiation, and expansion beyond their current operations in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Manila, and their client base spanning over 25 countries worldwide.

“It’s a delicate balancing act, but one that I’ve approached with a steadfast focus on building an exceptional leadership team and empowering them to execute our innovative strategies. It’s a lofty endeavour, but one that has only strengthened my resolve and leadership capabilities over time,” Lamba stated. 

Shaping the future of market research 

Lamba believes SurveySensum has revolutionised how businesses approach data-driven decision-making.

Whereas such in-depth analysis once took weeks or months of arduous manual coding, SurveySensum has condensed that process to minutes. Companies can finally respond with agility to the rapidly evolving needs and sentiments of their customers, pivoting strategies and staying ahead of the competition like never before.

“Looking back, I’m incredibly proud of how SurveySensum has indelibly transformed the way businesses approach data-driven decision-making. By harnessing the power of AI and machine learning, we’ve made it possible to derive real-time insights from open-ended customer feedback across a multitude of languages, including Asian native languages,” he added. 

Lamba also shared that he is incredibly excited about the future that awaits customer feedback platforms like SurveySensum, as the accelerating advancements in AI and machine learning will undoubtedly continue shaping this domain in profound ways.

“At SurveySensum, we’re already at the forefront of these trends with our cutting-edge text analytics capabilities. Our proprietary algorithms are continuously trained and refined across verticals, geographies, and data sets, ensuring our ability to extract accurate, actionable insights from even the most nuanced customer verbatim grows more potent by the day,” he explained. 

On the idea of future trends and technology shaping customer feedback platforms, Lamba believes that SurveySensum is positioned well enough to capitalise on these trends. The brand is already working to launch an AI summary and insights on our platform, where a client doesn’t need to analyse the data or information from the surveys, but the platform itself will be able to provide a textual summary and actionable insights. This will again save hours of analysis time and reduce dependency on research agencies and consultants for consumer research needs.

“Moreover, our omnichannel approach has perfectly positioned us to thrive in today’s ecosystem, where consumers are engaging with brands across a myriad of digital and physical touchpoints. Whether it’s email, WhatsApp, SMS, QR codes, chatbots, or social media, SurveySensum empowers companies to connect with their audiences wherever they are,” Lamba added. 

Personal and career reflections

Reflecting on SurveySensum’s milestones, including four successful funding rounds and achieving profitability, Lamba takes pride in the journey of disruptive innovation. 

“I can’t help but swell with immense pride and gratitude. This journey has been an exhilarating testament to the power of disruptive innovation and the tireless efforts of my passionate and highly talented team,” he shared. 

As he reached his fifth year on SurveySensum, he shared that some of his most profound learnings have stemmed from the setbacks and course corrections they’ve had to navigate along the way. The team faced some major mistakes early on, getting too caught up in the competitive landscape and over-engineering their initial product far beyond the basics of a true ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP).

It wasn’t until they took that first iteration to market that Lamba and his team realised it wasn’t aligned with what their clients truly needed. That, for him, was a wake-up call that taught him a lesson he will never forget: the paramount importance of deeply understanding your market from the outset.

“Knowing your target personas inside and out, grasping the nuances of their pain points and the true market size, and talking to them directly are the crucial first steps before investing significant time and resources into product development. Getting a lean MVP into the market rapidly, absorbing feedback, and iterating from that stable base is the smartest path to sustainable growth,” Lamba further explained. 

For Lamba, if there’s one piece of advice he could impart to aspiring entrepreneurs, it would be to make understanding your market deeply a priority from day one. Define your target personas with granularity, validate the scale of the opportunity, and start leaning with an MVP before overinvesting prematurely. Then, embrace an evolution mindset—continue evolving that initial solution based on real user inputs and consumption patterns.

“This approach has become the bedrock of my own entrepreneurial philosophy and leadership mindset. While the path has been arduous, it has also been immensely rewarding, constantly propelling me to new heights of personal growth, strategic thinking, and passionate determination,” he said. 

Another piece of advice from him is to closely monitor profitability and cash flow from operations and align your management team so that the company is self-reliant and self-sustainable. In spite of having two offerings—neuroscience-based consulting and SurveySensum SAAS solutions—we became profitable in our fourth year, and at the same time, we were able to get business from more than 25 countries across the globe and have a physical presence in four countries.

Lamba’s journey with Neurosensum and SurveySensum exemplifies the impact of innovative thinking and technological integration in market research. As he continues to lead with passion and vision, the future of market research promises to be more insightful and accessible than ever before.

“As I look to the future, I’m filled with excitement for what lies ahead for SurveySensum and the market research industry as a whole. The key is to keep evolving, keep rapidly iterating, keep shattering paradigms, and never lose sight of the deepest needs of your clients and the value they expect you to provide them,” Lamba concluded. 

Singapore – Around 70% of Singaporeans have adopted carrying a reusable shopping bag as a common practice to cut back on plastic use, a survey from YouGov revealed. 

According to the survey, Singaporeans are now taking more drastic steps to reduce the use of plastic in their daily routine as problems with plastic pollution increase. 

A top action across all age groups is the carrying of reusable shopping bags, which 70% of Singaporeans have now adopted to cut back on their plastic use. This is followed by using reusable containers for storage (55%), and reusing old plastic shopping bags (52%).

Additionally, reusing takeaway containers for storage (48%), avoiding plastic cutlery (45%), carrying a reusable bottle or cup (44%), reusing plastic bottles for future use (42%), and avoiding plastic straws (41%), are some of the other ways in which Singaporeans are checking their plastic usage.

Interestingly, the survey also showed that baby boomers and GenX are the ones most likely to take all the listed actions as compared to GenZ and millennials. 

YouGov’s survey also revealed that Singaporeans largely favour plastic items being banned, with the population being more likely to support than oppose a ban across all the listed products.

Over half of the Singaporean respondents support the ban on drinking straws, disposable coffee cups, and foam egg boxes. 

Furthermore, almost half are proposing a ban on plastic bags in supermarkets (50%), takeaway containers (49%), coffee machine capsules, and condiment sachets (47% each).

However, it is worth noting again that the ban on items on the list was supported more by baby boomers, especially when compared to the younger generation.

Based on the data, it shows that boomers and GenX are more likely than the younger generation to reduce the use of plastic in their daily lives.

A part of the reduced and more conscious usage of disposable plastics, especially when shopping, can also be attributed to a regulation passed in 2023 by Singapore, where the country required supermarket operators with an annual turnover of more than S$100 million to charge customers at least S$0.05 for each disposable carrier bag.

A year after the regulations were placed, the survey recorded that more than four in five Singaporeans believed that the rule changed their usage of plastic bags, with one in eight (12%) saying it changed to a very large extent.

Seven in ten residents claim they have started carrying their own shopping bags since this rule was implemented in supermarkets (69%). However, one in eight end up paying extra for disposable carrier bags (13%). 

Meanwhile, a small proportion (6%) shared that they have started shopping online instead, while one in ten (11%) reported not experiencing any changes to their shopping behaviour.

Consistent with the data reported by YouGov on the survey, baby boomers are shown to be more likely to carry their own shopping bags, while younger consumers like Gen Z and millennials are more likely than others to pay for a bag or resort to online shopping.

Chi Wei Teo, general manager at YouGov Singapore, said, “It is delightful to see people embracing and making conscious efforts to reuse plastic and to show support for initiatives limiting the use of plastic. As the data shows, the older cohort seems to be taking more responsibility for reducing plastic usage as compared to their younger counterparts. However, there needs to be greater understanding and involvement from youth to build momentum. Not just the government, but companies, brands, and the general public need to create awareness about preserving the environment and adopting a greener lifestyle.”

Melbourne, Australia–Three in four consumers now browse through multiple marketplaces before buying, new research from Rithum revealed. 

The research showed that an average consumer would shop on three different marketplaces when purchasing online as challengers grow in popularity. 

Half (50%) of the respondents have admitted to abandoning a purchase if they suspect that better prices exist elsewhere or that they may decrease in the future. This purchasing decision is due to consumers developing a fear of missing out on a better deal. 

Furthermore, the aforementioned trend also coincides with the rising popularity of marketplaces where features like price comparison and reviews are accessible to consumers, helping them shop around for the best value. 

According to the research, almost half, or 46%, of shoppers now use marketplaces to discover products, while 37% are clicking through sponsored products while they are browsing on a marketplace. 

It is worth noting, however, that while shoppers are generally open to expanding their options with marketplaces, 47% of consumers stated they still trust brand-owned websites more than other marketplaces like Amazon (21%), and eBay (29%). 

With this, it’s become increasingly important for e-commerce brands to expand their marketplaces to adapt to customer preferences. 

Based on Rithum’s research, businesses with unsatisfactory performance in 2023 cited the highly competitive marketplace and lower consumer spending as the biggest factors. Meanwhile, among those that performed better, a third (36%) cited marketplace diversification and expanding sales channels as the main drivers behind the stronger results. 

Price pressure from competitors, meeting consumer sustainability expectations, and bringing in new customers to the brand were also the main issues highlighted by brands and retailers in terms of the barriers they’re preparing to face in 2024. 

As marketplaces play a more important role in the new year, brands and retailers are also starting to look into marketplace distribution and product listings. Amazon and eBay came out on top in terms of marketplace strategy for 2024, followed by Temu and SHEIN.  

Gordana Redzovski, managing director of APAC at Rithum, said, “The path to purchase is becoming increasingly fragmented as consumers visit multiple sites before completing a transaction. Consumers are consistently shopping around to find the best product, prices, and customer experience, and they’re willing to jump ship at the first sign of a better experience.” 

Redzovski continued, “Brands and retailers need to join consumers in their multichannel approach. This doesn’t necessarily mean extending your presence to hundreds of marketplaces. Instead, use a diverse set of tactics, including retail media and social media marketing, to simply remind shoppers of your brand and where they are shopping. 

“Consumers look to marketplaces for the wide selection of products, safe, secure transactions, familiar, comfortable experience, and fast, reliable shipping. Marketplaces have set a standard that many major retailers are now looking to replicate. And, as an e-commerce seller, your strategy must approach finding the best environments for selling products across multiple marketplaces,” she further added. 

Singapore – Tolerance for bad customer service dwindles across Southeast Asia as consumers cut spending with a brand more than half the time after receiving poor service, research from Qualtrics XM reported. 

According to the report, consumers in SEA slash their spending with a brand after 53% of negative customer experiences, a number that is 2% higher than 12 months previously and slightly higher than the global average (51%). 

This increasing and worrying cut in consumer spending threatens a US$144 billion annual loss for Southeast Asia. 

The report revealed that nearly one-fifth, or 15%, of consumers’ engagements with brands in the region result in a very poor customer experience. The data is similar to the volume of reported poor experiences globally (14%), but is down from the previous 2022 data, when 18% of brand interactions resulted in poor engagements.

Qualtrics XM’s research showed that Thailand is second globally in terms of reported poor customer experiences, with 19% of interactions falling short. The country also recorded the largest increase in negative experiences among the 23 countries surveyed, with a rise of 6%-points.

Furthermore, organisations in Thailand also have the highest sales at risk index (11%), a number that is almost three times higher than Singapore (4%) and twice as high as Australia (6%), the US, and the UK (both 5%). 

The research also showed that, on a global scale, Filipinos are most likely to reduce their spending with an organisation (47%) after a bad customer experience. 

Meanwhile, countries in SEA like Indonesia and Singapore have seen some of the biggest reductions in reported poor experiences, with a 10%-point and 8%-point decrease, respectively.

Government, hospitals, parcel deliveries, auto dealers, and credit card and insurance providers are among the industries that have recorded the highest volume of bad customer service in Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. Meanwhile, in Singapore, government and hospital services rank the lowest in providing bad customer experiences.

The continuous bad customer service is leading to a loss of revenue, putting 8% of sales at risk in the region as consumers across all markets are reducing or cutting spending entirely after a poor experience. 

The report also emphasised that organisations must address consumers’ fear of losing the human connection as more AI is being incorporated into customer interactions. 

Southeast Asian consumers are some of the most comfortable with AI when engaging with brands, with more than two-thirds, or 69%, in Singapore believing it will improve customer service levels through faster service times, resolving complaints and queries, and faster deliveries. 

With this, organisations must ensure that AI positively impacts the customer experience in the region, prioritising human connection in the engagement, with consumers’ biggest concerns with the technology being a lack of human connection, misuse of personal data, the possibility people will lose their jobs, and service quality.

Moira Dorsey, head of Qualtrics XM Institute, said, “Customer service is in the spotlight like never before, and our research reveals how consumers across Southeast Asia are increasingly voting with their dollars. All it takes is one bad experience or wrong move for an organisation to be punished, which is why in 2024 companies need to be more careful than ever not to mistreat customers.” 

“Customers are placing a premium on human connection, and the most successful AI strategies are designed for this. By understanding how customers and their employees want to use AI, organisations can tailor their offerings and models for their preferences, and those that do will be rewarded with increased sales, more satisfied customers, and highly engaged and productive employees,” she added. 

Indonesia – Three in five consumers in Indonesia are planning to spend more than Rp 3 million+ on Ramadan shopping this year, a research report by InMobi and Glance revealed. 

The survey report showed that Ramadan celebrations are set to reach new heights this year, as 60% of survey respondents said they plan to increase their online shopping budgets, while 41% intend to increase their offline shopping expenditures. 

With digital channels now having a stronger hold on consumers, the report places emphasis on the importance of brands utilising a mobile-first approach pre-Ramadan period. 

In fact, the survey report revealed that a staggering 97% of consumers in the country now rely on their smartphones for research and are swayed by app-driven promotions when making purchasing choices. Additionally, over 73% of consumers depend on their mobile devices for making purchases. 

A major reason that mobile shopping has been on the rise in recent years is because it offers easy payments, app-only special offers, and free shipping. Though shopping in stores allows people to see or try products and avoid buying the wrong item, mobile is still by far the biggest platform for research (97%), followed by physical stores (62%), and just 34% on desktop.

These results underscore the importance of leveraging cutting-edge mobile marketing technologies and focusing on top content categories like news, games, and video for brands to deliver experiences that can establish stronger connections with consumers.

A part of the report highlighted brands that effectively utilised the smart lock screen in the market. An example of this is the campaign for Indofood Freiss, which successfully reached the 102% coupon redemption target by capitalising on awareness generated through the smart lock screen. 

InMobi and Glance’s report also looked through who and what consumers plan to shop for this Ramadan season, revealing that the spirit of giving is alive this year. 

The report showed that while more than half, or 57%, of Indonesians are shopping for themselves, there are also spending priorities given to their family, neighbours, and charity. Furthermore, household staff, business partners, and clients are in line for festive generosity as well.

Items like clothing and accessories (89%), groceries (71%), and gift packs (70%) are expected to be the top purchases, with clothing, health and beauty products, and gadgets most frequently bought on mobile. Meanwhile, Indonesians prefer to shop in physical stores for groceries, gift packs, and vehicles.

There are three types of shoppers in Indonesia that brands should be aware of for this season. The unplanned shoppers (17%) are mainly undecided on products and brands; thus, they are more keen to explore the biggest deals and are more likely to be older consumers, with 61% having budgets under Rp 3 million. 

Meanwhile, the category explorers (68%) are those who have already decided on products but are still actively exploring which brands. These are more likely to be younger consumers, with 59% having budgets over Rp 3 million.

Lastly, there are the brand lovers (15%) who have already decided on brands and are loyal to their favourites. Consumers in this segment are typically older, with 45% having budgets over Rp 5 million. 

Aside from shopping, everyone can also expect the Mudik movement, as the report recorded that 74% of travelling Indonesians plan to take a trip to visit loved ones who live in their hometowns or outside.

A travel wave is expected, as 41% plan to travel in the last week of Ramadan, just days before Idul-Fitri, while a further 20% will travel on the actual holiday. Only 22% of Indonesians are planning to travel ahead of the month of Ramadan or at the start.

Vasuta Agarwal, chief business officer at InMobi Group, stated, “There’s no denying the central role of smartphones in influencing purchasing decisions among consumers in Indonesia. To win in this market, brands must engage with their audience through seamless, single-tap mobile experiences and state-of-the-art technologies that are built to foster meaningful brand-consumer connections.”

She added, “One such technology is the Glance smart lock screen, which empowers consumers to discover premium, personalised content directly on their smartphone lock screen without the need for unlocking, downloading, or searching. With Glance, brands in Indonesia are achieving remarkable success, driving deep and seamless engagement with consumers even before they unlock their phones.”

Manila, Philippines – A new study by Omnicom Media Group (OMG) has found that Filipino gamers have the lowest propensity to spend PHP 620 and above in a month on in-game purchases compared to their APAC counterparts. Gamers in China, for example, spend at least three times more and those in Hong Kong spend two times more.

According to the report, the concept of creating value for Filipino gamers is crucial because when they do spend on microtransactions, the reasons are value-specific, e.g. when there is a sale (50%), in-game power-ups (36%), gifts (31%), a treat for oneself or someone else (31%), and limited-time release (29%).

In general, 50% bought an in-game skin, character, or accessory in the last three months. Other items purchased during the period included battle/season pass (38%), gears/weapons (33%), extra lives, hints, or boosters (29%), and gaming currency (28%).

The report notes that while gaming is a popular activity in the Philippines, oly around 61% of Filipino gamers identify with the label ‘gamer’, on par with the APAC average and sharing similar sentiments as counterparts in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, around 28% do not consider themselves gamers and 10% are unsure. Across all generations, those do not associate with the term ‘gamer’ share two common themes for its definition: time spent playing and device played on.

The top reason was respondents only gaming on their smartphone (44%), like those in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Some also said gaming is not their only hobby (35%) and that they do not play enough (33%).

According to the report, while these items offer brands a variety of opportunities to create in-game collaborations, companies might see lower than expected conversions due to low average monthly spend. Also, these branded collaborations might only work if there is high brand affinity and if they offer value to gamers. In turn, branded microtransactions require a variety of exciting, urgent, and emotional messaging to persuade gamers to purchase.

Mary Buenaventura, CEO at OMG Philippines, said, “While Filipino gamers might experience Internet challenges such as penetration and speed, one should never underestimate the opportunities in gaming. This research indicates that most gamers can no longer be stereotyped as hermits in their dark rooms. Instead, they are highly mobile and are playing during breaks or during their daily commute, thereby democratising the gaming experience.”

She added, To succeed in this space, brands are encouraged to invest on game development or in-store gaming experiences that meet the high expectations of Filipino gamers’ and offer them original, real-world moments.”

Singapore – Around 79% of consumers in APAC are influenced by non-promotional content that shows a product’s value rather than discounts, a report from TikTok revealed.

The report showed that content factors such as product benefits, reviews, demonstrations, and visuals now hold greater value on a consumer’s decision journey. With this, almost 79% of APAC consumers are shifting their focus from price to value instead. Meanwhile, only 21% of consumers are influenced by promotions in their buying decision journey.

This number ranges for different countries in APAC, with Indonesia hitting as high as 41%, 27% in Japan, and 12% in South Korea and Thailand.

With changing consumer habits, APAC consumers are also now split into two distinct consumer categories: social-oriented and product-oriented.

Social-oriented consumers are those that rely on content recommendations from creators. They are less promotion-sensitive and have a higher degree of trust in their intuitions when buying something. Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea’s consumers tend to lean more towards this category.

On the other hand, consumers in Japan and Indonesia are found to be more likely to be product-oriented in nature. They prioritise product information and benefits in their content consumption, are more responsive to discounts, and tend to rely less on their intuition when making purchase decisions.

TikTok’s report also revealed that APAC consumers are increasingly looking for more content-driven video platforms that drive content-triggered shopping and facilitate intent-driven buying through search.

The report recorded that 1.9x more consumers regularly search for products on content-driven video platforms than on traditional search engines. Furthermore, a staggering 93% want to continue or increase their discovery, consideration, and purchase of products on these content-driven platforms in the next 1-2 years.

And while there are only 22% of consumers that are influenced by brands, 48% are actually influenced by ‘Content Communities’ or networks of brand and product content that drive interaction and co-creation among consumers and brands.

The concept of content co-creation has already become as integrated and concurrent as the consumption of content itself, with 73% of consumers now creating content in rather ‘fluid’ ways through trends, contributing in comment sections, and more.

Shant Oknayan, head of global business solutions for Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia at TikTok, said, “TikTok delivers content-led commerce to consumers. As technology continues to develop and economic factors influence consumer habits, brands must look to engage with their consumers in ways that provide them not only the best deal but also an entertaining, seamless experience that does not disrupt their task flow. The clear lines between shopping and other activities are beginning to blur, and so it’s even more crucial for brands to deliver content that helps consumers buy what they want, when they want to, and how they want to.”

Speaking on the report, Arthur Altounian, VP of client strategy and growth for APAC at GroupM (The Goat Agency), also said, “In this era of content and evolving consumer behaviours, it’s imperative for brands to facilitate intuitive decision-making and establish rapport with their audiences by striking the right balance between long-term relationship building and short-term promotions. Brands should remain consumer-first and mindful of creating a seamless experience, which includes engaging content and sales strategies that emphasise the product benefits and offer value.”

Singapore – Nearly half, or 42%, of marketers in the Asia-Pacific region still use AI for content creation while 39% use it for brainstorming, the data from Omnicom Media Group (OMG) showed.

The report from OMG revealed that the AI boom is far from over, with 90% of online information predicted to be AI-generated content by 2026.

While ChatGPT recorded a 10% dip in its users in June 2023, enterprise AI is still thriving and is expected to remain relevant in 2024. This prediction is backed by a 48% increase in AI funding in 2023 and the continuous efforts of tech giants Google and Microsoft to develop and deploy their own generative AI capabilities in 2024.

Moreover, the report showed a rise in the use of visual search in APAC. The function is particularly popular with Chinese consumers, where 84% of the online population in the market now uses visual search at least once a month.

Among the applications leading the charge in visual search are WeChat, AliPay, Baidu, and Tmall. With the function offering a more seamless experience for shoppers in the ‘phygital’ world, visual search is expected to continue its hold in the region in the coming years.

OMG’s report also revealed interesting trends relevant for marketers and advertisers in terms of reaching their audience.

The report showed that connected TV (CTV) still has potential in APAC, as 2023 statistics from GWI recorded CTV and smart stick ownership growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 6.5% in the third quarter of the year.

More than half, or 57%, of APAC marketers also shifted at least 40% of their ad budgets to CTV. With the ability to provide consumers with the opportunity to curate their viewing experience, CTV offers a 13% increase in attention index among its viewers and a six-times increase in conversion from streaming ads compared to those on TV.

CTV is also being viewed as a way to further shape the future of areas such as shoppable media and the way ads are bought and served on the platforms, making it a valuable platform to consider for marketers moving forward.

Aside from CTV, another trend brands should look into is the growing interest of consumers in podcasts in APAC. The report revealed that 70% of APAC consumers report a higher level of attentiveness while listening to podcasts.

In fact, 26% of podcast listeners in the region prefer ads in podcasts that feel organic, and 71% of consumers actually take action after listening to ads on a podcast. It is crucial, however, that brands understand the podcast space and its listeners to avoid the feeling of intrusiveness that can disrupt relationships between consumers and podcasters, and ultimately the opportunity.

However, while technology and innovation continue to show relevant growth in APAC, 2024 is also set to crack down on big tech companies. This prediction is anchored on the new legislation being enacted across the region as a way to control emerging technologies.

The new legislation being introduced by countries across APAC aims to encourage healthy competition, ethical use of consumer data, and enforce transparency. Consumers in the region are also rallying behind these laws, with 60% backing government regulation of social media within their country. This record is more than 49% of the global average.

This crackdown has already reached companies like Meta, which has now launched paid, ad-free versions of its platforms by 2024 to comply with data protection regulations. Companies looking into entering APAC are advised to be wary of these country regulations to avoid lawsuits.

Another interesting trend, however, that marketers should consider and that the report further highlights is the growing cynicism among consumers when it comes to ads, which leads to de-influencing.

Deinfluencing, as the report describes, is where influencers look behind the veil of advertising to examine if a brand, product, or service truly lives up to what it promises or if consumers are better off using alternatives.

This trend pushes consumers to demand authenticity and transparency from companies and brands. Therefore, brands and companies should ensure that their brands and the influencers they employ are consistent with their principles and that they have a meaningful purpose.

It is important to note that OMG’s report emphasised how all eyes are now directed towards APAC as a region for innovation and new stories. Even global brands that used to be the inspiration and standard are now looking into APAC to localise their strategies.

The presence of technology allowed the population in the region to access and share their cultural diversity on a global scale. The modern twist to their rich heritage reflects the trends that emerge in the region, which consumers continue to support.

Nina Fedorczuk, chief enablement officer at OMG APAC, said, “Many of us have spent the last few years trying to minimise risk and loss. But we are now living in the New Normal, and with it come new opportunities for growth, new technologies, and new ways of living. We are seeing this across the entire landscape: brands, agencies, innovators, tech firms, and especially consumers. Our OMG 2024 APAC Trends Report covers a diverse group of trends, but at the heart of it lies the idea that we should not always play safe.”