In what has been a topsy-turvy time over the last few years financially, consumers appear to be emerging with new priorities and lowest price no longer equates with the best value as people pay more attention to how purchases align with personal beliefs.
According to Mintel, consumers in the region are re-evaluating their brand allegiances, reconnecting with products by supporting artisan manufacturers, shopping at independently owned retailers, or opting to do-it-themselves.
This is a trend that has been seen in the West, and now in Asia private label brands in Japan and Australia are taking advantage of this expanded definition of value with revamped lines that attract careful shoppers who do not want to compromise to save money.
This also means consumers will carefully read labels, scan QR codes, or check online reviews before buying, and Mintel says this is because product recalls, questionable claims, and shady business practices have heightened scepticism in consumers.
“This elevates the need for brands to be authentic and transparent in their business practices in 2014,” comments the researcher.
“In 2014, companies must the careful to monitor all aspects of their image and interaction with fans – ensuring that they’re aligning with corporate responsibility goals as well as the key priorities of its current — and prospective — consumers.”
This is heightened by the immediacy provided by technology, as use of social media and information on-the-go increases, meaning brands have to be proactive; something that has been varied in the cosmetics industry.
As such, Mintel predicts that the coming year will see a continued increase of global connections through both experiences and technology.
This is fuelled by the demand for instant gratification which will continue to drive consumers in 2014, especially as use of mobile technology remains high.
Mobile devices will be more convenient as industry sources predict that 2014 could see the widespread availability of mobile payments in China, as well as the introduction of in-store concepts, such as that seen in a leading beauty store in Singapore.
Concerns over safety are also a trend expected to influence consumers in Asia Pacific this year.
Consumers in China, Japan and South Korea are all paying more attention to product safety, upping the importance of packaging, which is scrutinized more.
In 2014, across all industries, Mintel predicts shoppers will be open to investing in solutions that can help them be more responsible in the present, while also preparing for any less-than-desirable scenarios that could arise down the road.