In It To Win It – Trend 2

Augmented Reality (AI) is providing a fresh take on gamification that retailers are realizing can take the shopping experience – and customer engagement – to a whole new level. Dare we say it … it’s a game changer. In it to win it Gamification has long been deployed as a way for brands to tap into the innate human desire to compete for rewards and recognition. Service providers in China have frequently been the fastest off the blocks, and have had huge success. Tencent generated incredible levels of engagement with their WeChat red envelope (Hongbao) campaign to attract consumers to WeChat Pay, which saw an astonishing 8 billion red envelopes sent during Chinese New Year 2016. Red paper envelopes traditionally contain ‘lucky money’ as gifts at festival time. Likewise, Alibaba’s used gamification in the loyalty program for its Sesame credit rating system, and the taxi app Didi uses promotional games and lucky draws to boost loyalty. But it’s the global phenomenon that was Pokémon GO in 2016 that shows how augmented reality can add a whole new dimension to gamification. For retailers, AR games stand to generate a wealth of information about customers’ preferences and behavior. Games will help brands see which items are considered in the purchase cycle, see how a customer shops, and gain additional insight on what drives the final purchase. For the customer, AR promises to bring to life – or virtual life – information on product features and benefits, promotions and price-scanning features.

Health Equals Happiness – Trend 1

The rapid expansion of China’s middle classes is transforming the consumer landscape. These increasingly affluent consumers are seeking ways to lead healthier lives, fuelling demand for products and brands from across the globe that are linked to health and wellness. In the Year of the Rooster, the markets for healthy food, drinks and fitness will expand. The challenge for brands will be in remaining sympathetic to the country’s wellness traditions, while providing enough modern luxury to satisfy people’s desire for hi-tech solutions. Global fitness and lifestyle brands are already making a big impression in China, and many have announced ambitious launch and expansion plans. These include apparel brands Lululemon and Under Armour, along with Nike, fitness club chain Virgin Active, and Adidas, which has plans to open 3,000 new stores in China by 2020. The pursuit of fitness and wellbeing will also prompt a rise in niche health and wellness retailers. Smaller store footprints that can offer a more personalized service from knowledgeable sales representatives will appeal to health-conscious consumers seeking expert guidance. This shift explains the recent rise of Chunbo, a niche B2C e-commerce platform specializing in healthy, organic foods.

Chinese New Year A Little Late

I’m in catch up mode.

It’s been busy…no excuse so a lot of ground to cover. So let’s start with Chinese New Year.

A few months back. Here are a few thoughts on what is in store for retail in China during the year of the rooster. Here are 8 trends (one per day)  in collaboration with a friend and colleague Mike Smollan that you should all be looking at if the “Year Of  The Rooster” is to be a retail success for you. More of everything for the world of retail Every year in China, we predict a period of unprecedented change for the 12 months ahead, and all indications are that 2017 will be no exception. In the Year of the Rooster, we expect more of everything for the world of retail: bigger challenges, but also bigger rewards; heightened consumer expectations, and greater wins for the retailers and brands that meet them and even greater ones for those that exceed them. Change has become the only constant in the Chinese market, and that change is happening faster than ever. This makes retailing an enormous challenge. The retail sector is at the nexus of the biggest forces shaping people’s lives: digitization, brand building and a rebalancing of the Chinese economy away from manufacturing towards services and consumption.

To help you focus on what’s most important right now, we’ve distilled this vast ocean of change into 8 key retail trends in China for the Year of the Rooster. To learn more about Chinese New Year and how this national holiday unlocks year round opportunities for brands and retailers, download this informative and visual BrandZ™ study: . We hope this will help develop your insight into China, and help you better understand the ever-changing business of retail in this dynamic market. Here’s wishing you a very happy and successful Year of the Rooster. Gong xi fa cai.

Picture Of The Week

Myanmar Fisherman


I have recently returned from Myanmar. Quite fascinating..and lots more to post about it over the weeks but here’s one of my pictures to get you thinking.

See The Top 50

Following yesterdays post many people have asked which brands make up the entire top 50, so here you are… a video that gives you the complete run down of our  “BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016”. Video by Tuhin…Nice job Tuhin and thanks. And congratulations to every brand that made the 2016 Indonesian rankings.

Just Launched In Indonesia

BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016 Infographic

BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016 Infographic

The BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indonesian Brands 2016 has just been launched in Jakarta at an event attended by government minsters, business leaders, brand builder and the press. A tremendous job by our BrandZ team. A massive thank you from me to them all. Here is the infographic giving the highlights. You can download it here. Designed by Kay (great job). And yes it has been a while since my last post…and yes it has been very hectic …and yes that’s not really an excuse. More posts to follow…

Pooling Resources – Trend 8

Pooling Resources

Pooling resources One of the ways businesses in China will adjust to slowing economic growth is to focus on efficiency, delivering strong productivity while reducing costs. Crowd-sourcing labour is one way to achieve this, and we expect to see this help fuel agile brands and businesses in the year ahead.

The competitive nature of the in-store environment means brands have had little choice but to use traditional sales and promoter businesses; in a tougher economic climate, the need to connect with stores and consumers is just as important, but the pressure on costs means brands are looking for new ways to achieve this. Crowd-sourced labour – something we’ve seen succeed in many mature markets – is something we expect to see more of in China’s retail industry in the year ahead, particularly in lower-tier cities where there is a hunger for market information but not necessarily the budgets to gather it in the traditional way. Deploying people whose work is paid for in ‘slices’ of time can help give brands a presence in remote places at a very reasonable cost.

This approach has, until now, been mainly used by start-ups trying to minimize their cash burn; this year, we expect crowd-sourced labour to be deployed by more mainstream brands as they work to reduce costs.

The Chinese New Year, known in china as spring festival, is the country’s most important holiday. The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar established about 4,700 years ago. Various legends explain the origin of the Chinese New Year. One describes how people dreaded the New Year because a fearsome beast named Nian annually terrorised the population and devoured children. Then one year a child appeared dressed in red. The beast, frightened by the colour, fled and never returned. That’s why the Chinese New Year traditionally features red lanterns and noisy firecrackers to ward off evil spirits.

The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar that calculates time using both lunar and solar events. Time passes in 12- year cycles, with each year represented by an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Traditionally, people prepare special foods and hope for a future of good luck. They attend many family dinners, starting with a New Year’s Eve feast. Travel home for the family reunion produces a mass migration. The New Year period culminates in the lantern festival, a joyful celebration around the first new moon in the lunar New Year.


Portable Payment – Trend 7

Portable Payments

The role of mobile phones in consumers’ lives will lead to increased use of mobile payment solutions in the year ahead. To meet consumers’ demand for convenience and security, growing numbers of retailers are expected to provide mobile payment options. Accustomed to using mobile phones in every aspect of their lives, consumers in China now want to be able not just to discover products and compare prices on their mobile, but to be able to complete a purchase and pay for it securely without having to look up from their screens. There are huge opportunities for retailers and brands to satisfy this appetite for technology and convenience.

Mobile payment solutions enable retailers to attract new consumers and encourage shoppers to complete a purchase on the spot. The mobile also creates a perfect platform on which retailers can extend their marketing and advertising – and drive loyalty programs. Recent developments in mobile payment include Alipay’s integration into European checkouts, and leading e-tailers developing their own in-house payment solutions, such as Walmart Pay. We expect to see more of these types of solutions in the Year of the Monkey.

These payment solutions have the added benefit of generating valuable data which, when added to the streams of data that retailers already collect, will enable stores to better target consumers with products, services, marketing messages and loyalty offerings that are more likely to hit their mark. All of these pay points are adding to the ecosystem of data and will provide a new axis with which to target consumers, this will shift even more of the control towards businesses like Alibaba and Tencents Wechat.

We see this being a crucial pivot point in the mobile payment power play and perhaps the quickest move away from traditional payment as the resulting data generated from it will increase the influence of those companies that control it

Small-screen social experience – Trend 6

Small csreen China

The rise of mobile commerce is changing not only the way people make a purchase, but also how they research, experience and share information about the brands they consider. Chinese consumers are increasingly sophisticated and technology savvy, and social media content is deepening its influence. Consumers are demanding a more personalized shopping experience both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores. They want great service, they expect products to be available right away, and they want fast delivery. But simply meeting these expectations is no longer enough; it is just the minimum, and there is little margin for error. To mark themselves out among savvy and connected consumers, brands and retailers must now deliver a great experience.

That experience must translate – especially given the growing spending power of the expanding millennial age group – across all platforms. It is now essential that mobile and social media are as seamless a part of the shopping experience as they are a part of consumers’ everyday lives. Content that works on a mobile – from both a function and an engagement perspective – is the first hurdle in the race to deliver a great mobile experience. Demand for more, better mobile content will grow in the Year of the Monkey, driven by the rise in mobile commerce.

This requires a fresh approach to marketing; one that delivers a sense of closeness to the consumer and one that reflects and anticipates the way people use their mobiles to shop. The intimacy with which consumers relate to their mobile phones must translate to the relationships that brands and retailers build and the experiences they deliver.

Happy Families – Trend 5

HAppy Families - China

The decision by Beijing to end the decades-old One Child Policy means that from 2016, approximately 90 million couples will be allowed to have a second child. The implications of this change in policy are huge for the broader economy and for retailing specifically. There will, undoubtedly, be a surge in consumption of products and services for babies, young children and their parents.

Credit Suisse estimates there will be 1.2 million babies in total, born in China in 2016 alone. Given that the annual cost of raising an infant is 40,000 yuan, this will result in a 4.8 billion yuan boost to the economy. Parents are likely to reduce the amount of money they save in order to buy the things that their new arrivals need, and the market for baby formula milk is expected to grow by 6% in 2016.

We have already seen new brands of formula enter the market as a result; there is little consumer confidence in local infant formula, and the demand for international brands in this category is intense. The longer-term effects of the shift in policy will be seen in the amount of food each household consumes, the need for bigger housing, additional spending on clothing, medical care, higher utility bills and possibly even bigger cars.

All of this additional spend will give a welcome boost to China’s GDP, as well as helping address the need for a growing number of young people to help care for the country’s ageing population.

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