How the pandemic is re-shaping retail trends in Asia
By : Nick Miles , IGD
At the beginning of 2020 , IGD identifiedfive key themes expected to shape the Asian grocery market and influence retail strategy moving forward . When COVID-19 struck , some of these trends , such as accelerating online capabilities , making shopping social and digital stores of the future have accelerated and become even more significant . While others , like shopper-focused formats and health , wellness and sustainability have remained relevant , they have also evolved to cater to shifting shopper priorities .
Even as COVID-19 restrictions ease , retailers and suppliers are faced with a new reality . Social distancing , increased digital adoption and economic downturns are forces of change that will remain relevant for the foreseeable future . Nick Miles , Head of Asia-Pacific at IGD , analyses the impact of COVID-19 on these trends and what it means for your business .
COVID-19 has meant that established retailers have had to either rapidly expand capacity or in some cases set up grocery ecommerce operations for the first time in the space of a few months .
Partnerships are a major tactic used to drive both online capacity and capability , particularly through providing cost effective and rapid last mile delivery solutions .
Health , wellness and sustainability
Consumers in Asia are becoming more aware of the importance of eating a balanced diet , as well as the impact of the food and consumer goods industry on the environment .
While this is still a relevant theme post COVID-19 , shoppers are more focused on boosting their immunities through health supplements , eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and making nutritionally balanced meals at home .
Retailers have adapted quickly to build new capabilities , using new platforms and techniques to influence shopper , but also sell products to them via these portals . In markets where ecommerce is underdeveloped , social platforms have helped retailers sell online despite not having their own platforms set up .
Digital stores of the future
Since the pandemic started , we have seen an increasing use of robots and AR ( augmented reality ) tools in physical stores . They are mainly used to help : Improve store hygiene and create a safe environment for staff and customers
Across Asia , retailers are reassessing their understanding of their shopper and flexing stores to suit the changing preferences following COVID-19 . Retailers are flexing store footprints , design , ranges and layouts , with new space being given to categories that have seen a surge in demand , as well as how people want to shop following the pandemic . Boosting accessibility with spacious layouts , easy navigation and proximity are all becoming more important for format development .
Despite the pandemic , we have also continued to see a steady pipeline on new and exciting shopper-focused formats , both for now and the future , emerge and be tested by retailers across many markets .
Established retailers accelerating online
Across Asia the development of grocery ecommerce varies considerably . While pureplay specialists have led innovation in this space , established grocery retailers have started realising they need to invest and build their capabilities , learn best practice from others and adopt new solutions .
Although environmental awareness remains a growth area , the focus for everyone has been on ensuring product availability . Supporting local businesses play an important role in ensuring undisrupted food supply when countries lock down , it also inadvertently helps to reduce environmental impact .
Making shopping social
Social commerce , the ability to sell seamlessly through social platforms , but also how businesses can leverage peer-to-peer communication to drive sales , has been a growing trend in Asia for several years . COVID-19 has seen retailers experiment even more in this area , helping make ecommerce more accessible , at a time when physical store capacity and operations have been restricted .
Photo from : www . futureconceptretail . com /
Reduce direct human contact , driven by the rising shopper demand for contactless shopping Speed up the shopping experience to reduce the time spent in-store
Increase operational efficiency and overcoming the challenge of staff availability due to the pandemic These technologies are transforming retail experiences in physical stores and are likely to play an important role in helping keep stores open and clean over the coming years .
For more insights and analysis into the impact of COVID-19 on the global retail industry , visit https :// retailanalysis . igd . com /