The study of the South East Asia retail market tracks the retail performance of 50 brands throughout the evolution of the pandemic across seven Asian retail markets: mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. It covers five product categories and two industry sectors – lifestyle and luxury brands – and looks at both domestic and travel retail channels for shopping in Asia.
Asia was first hit by the pandemic as early as January 2020 and Bluebell Group began monitoring the impact of the crisis and assessing the ongoing pressures on the different Southeast Asia retail markets against the various restrictions, looking at how retailers have swiftly adapted and kept their customers close for both stores in Asia and online retail.
After experiencing the highest year-on-year performance drop between March and April, all Southeast Asia retail markets began recovering in May – with the exception of Mainland China, which was the first to rebound with positive year-on-year growth from March onwards. Driven by lockdown fatigue, and a large number of both government and shopping mall-led promotions, consumers flocked back to the stores as soon as restrictions were lifted, according to the report.
The digital channels that emerged across Asia were not only pure online retail platforms, they were largely centred around social media, leveraging platforms such as WeChat and WhatsApp, as well as live streaming. Brands invested in training of retail associates to give them the means to use these new channels for retail and the one-on-one relationship between the sales associate and the customer emerged stronger than ever.
This detailed retail industry overview provides insights on geographies, retail categories and consumer behavior across the South East Asia retail market.