ASEAN study: Disgruntled Indonesians want regional eCommerce players

ASEAN study: Disgruntled Indonesians want regional eCommerce players

Blackbox Research, JAKARTA – Despite booming sales accelerated by COVID-19, eCommerce players have taken growth for granted at the expense of consumer experience, according to new research released today.

Within Indonesia, about  half of consumers (45%) said they are less than satisfied with their digital commerce experience, citing delivery costs, reliability of reviews, and product prices as their top three concerns (See Appendix 1 and 2).

Conducted by leading data content and social research agency Blackbox Research and consumer intelligence platform Toluna, the research report – Into the Light: Understanding What has Changed for the ASEAN Consumer During COVID-19 – analysed current sentiments, expectations and behaviours of 4,780 consumers across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Indonesians most satisfied with Shopee, Grab

Yashan Cama, International Commercial Director of Blackbox Research said the study confirmed a significant change in consumer behaviour in recent months driven by an increasing necessity to shop online.

The report found that Indonesian consumers reported a spike in online spending in response to COVID-19, with 57% of those surveyed now spending more online, and the total online spend for the average Indonesian consumer increasing by 28%.

When it comes to balancing brand use and brand satisfaction, Shopee emerged as the strongest among eCommerce players. The report findings revealed that it not only achieved an 76% market share amongst respondents, it had the second highest satisfaction rating. Meanwhile, despite only ranking as the third most used platform, Grab had the highest brand satisfaction (see Appendix 3).

Cama attributed some of the factors behind these brands’ popularity to their focus on localising their offering, as well as tapping into the purchase motivations and behavioural ticks of consumers in Indonesia, such as through celebrity endorsements.

On the other hand, not all brands that are enjoying high usage rates find themselves with happy customers. For example, while 61% of respondents use Tokopedia, the local eCommerce giant’s performance was only rated average when it comes to consumer satisfaction.

Cama said that while brand giants like Shopee are ranked favourably amongst Indonesian consumers, the reception towards brands like Grab and Tokopedia demonstrated that scale of market usage does not necessarily translate to customer experience, as with growth comes at the cost of greater scrutiny from consumers.

“At the end of the day every platform needs to be on edge – even the likes of Shopee – because consumer sentiment can change overnight if service quality starts to slip. Consumers are demanding and discerning: an experience they have in one industry they expect from another, so this expectation is only going to increase. With 5G technology on the verge of transforming platform capabilities, current market leaders may wake up to find that one day they are no longer the leader if they don’t continue to push for a more frictionless experience.”

Reigniting the love for local

The report also identified key trends as a result of the pandemic, notably a shift in consumer sentiment towards local brands. 91% of Indonesian consumers said they were more likely to support local brands in the future, driven by a desire to strengthen their local communities and economy (See Appendix 4).

Notably, when asked to identify brands that they are pleased or impressed with during the COVID-19 crisis, homegrown on-demand multi-service platform Gojek emerged as the second most favoured brands by Indonesians. Its successful brand perception can be largely attributed to potential factors such as its pervasiveness in Indonesia through its ecosystem of services and partners, as well as the positive sentiment garnered from its efforts to support the gig economy during the pandemic, such as its Gojek Partner Support Fund.

“’International’ might be on the verge of becoming a dirty word,” said Cama. “Gojek is a great example of how national pride will be a growing part of consumers’ purchasing consideration. Consumers are looking to support their own economy, and they are letting their spending speak for itself. But this is not just a case of supporting a local brand, but a local brand that impacts a significant portion of Indonesians through the gig economy. This is why Indonesians want to see Gojek succeed.”

“For international companies to compete with this spotlight on local, they will need to reassess their brand portfolios and seriously consider how they can localise their brands to reflect the values that matter most to Indonesian consumers.”

Home becomes the new headquarters

According to Cama, COVID-19 is not only changing how and where consumers are spending their money, but it is also shifting how people are going about their day-to-day lives, which will have a tangible impact on future consumer behaviour.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, homes in ASEAN have emerged as the headquarters for learning, working and socialising. An overwhelming 92% of Indonesians are happy working from home, and the majority aren’t missing going to the movies or shopping at retail outlets.”

“Consumers are not rushing back to their old habits, so this new sense of life revolving around the home hub means companies need to rethink how they build this into the consumer experience in future. These changes go right to the heart of consumer behaviour and require innovative approaches across the board from property developers, landlords, employers, through to retailers.”

Commenting on the significance of the study’s findings, Cama said, “What the study has shown us is that the pandemic has unequivocally shifted how we identify as consumers. If businesses fail to adapt, the stakes are high. Any negative interaction with a brand – particularly in times of crisis – can have longstanding effects on his or her sense of trust and loyalty.

“In order to build resilience, brands need to keep a real-time pulse on customer preferences, and at the same time reimagine customer experience for a post-COVID-19 world, with care and connection at the forefront. Organisations today have an obsession with data. This is not a bad thing. But only by choosing to value customers as more than digital units or data points, will brands emerge successful.” (*)

Source : Terence Ong



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