5 ways brands can connect with modern Asian women
Women have always held the purse strings in the family, making 85 percent of all purchase decisions in their households (according to She-conomy). The difference is, today, they are not only spending, but also earning – even more than men in some parts of the world.
Asian women, in particular, hold the key to unlocking global potential for brands. Their growing economic power is the main reason why women are now seen as the emerging consumer group, and they show no sign of slowing. The gap between male and female incomes is closing faster in Asia than in the West. More Asian women are now assuming leadership positions in global organizations and making waves in their industry. Across Asia, women have greater opportunities for education and more are attaining tertiary qualifications. This levels the playing field with men, opening doors to higher paying jobs for women and consequently, greater spending power. And the women in these jobs are younger than men too. Eighty percent of wealthy women in China are under 45, compared to 30 percent in the United States and 19 percent in Japan.
In short, the Asian woman is more empowered than ever. She has a career, spending power, and freedom to reach for her goals and aspirations. Now, she’s looking for ways to exercise this newfound liberty.
How should brands behave to reach this evolving consumer group and earn its loyalty?
1. Develop a specific consumer profile
Asian women come from over 20 diverse countries, each with different living conditions and cultural norms. In affluent cities, women can enjoy a myriad of shopping options and afford everyday luxuries. However, across Asia, there is also wide income disparity. This discrepancy in wealth across Asia has great impact on their purchasing behaviour.
Cultural beliefs are also more diverse in Asia than anywhere else in the world. On one end of the spectrum lie deeply traditional societies like India and Indonesia, and on the other, increasingly liberal Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Brands need to appreciate that culture and socioeconomic conditions play a big part in how they will respond to marketing communications. Having a clear idea of who resides in the target group will allow for deeper insight and thus marketing that is more relevant and effective.
2. Ensure the product is as good as it claims to be
The modern Asian woman is discerning and intelligent. This has profound effect on how she makes shopping decisions. For one, she is an avid reader of product information on packs. She is also increasingly cynical of advertising and researches thoroughly before making a purchase. Many marketers have taken to constantly improving their products and featuring benefit claims more prominently on pack. Stores like Sephora are also becoming more popular as customers can try products before buying them. Brands that come across as credible and able to deliver on brand promises are likely to be the ones Asian women will be loyal to.
3. Create brand experiences that engage her social group
It is interesting to note that women approach shopping differently in Asia from the West. Group shopping is a popular pastime, even if they don’t necessarily make any purchases. Shopping together is when they share their interests, catch up and have fun together.
The importance of their social circle cannot be overstated. For young, single, upwardly mobile Asian women, their social groups define them. That’s who they have a laugh with, party with, find support in and look to for affirmation. Resonating with their clique of trusted girlfriends is half the battle won.
4. Align your brand image with her aspirational self
Despite being highly educated, Asian women care a lot about their appearances, and consider it as important as a good job and education in helping them attain success in life. According to a recent study conducted by TNS Asia Pacific, 59 percent of Asian women feel it is important to put effort into looking good before leaving home in the morning compared to 39 percent of US women. The desire to own extravagant, luxury products is another symptom of this mindset. Many young women are willing to spend thousands of dollars on ‘it bags’ and branded merchandise to distinguish themselves. They want to be seen as sophisticated and independent. Successful brands will be the ones that mirror or help them to achieve this desired image.
5. Find novel ways to integrate the brand into her online habits
Many Asians, male or female, are technophiles. Asian women online outnumber their North American counterparts two to one. They also love getting new gadgets and are more likely to be early adopters compared to Western women. Their busy lifestyles and love of social media mean that they do almost everything online – networking, sharing information, banking, researching products and shopping, of course.
While they may shop for their boyfriends, husbands and children, when it comes to online shopping, Asian women tend to shop solely for themselves. Eighty-one percent of purchases made online are for herself only. Her success in the workplace motivates her to indulge more, and the Internet gives her a whole range of tantalising shopping choices.
The web opens up a world of possibilities for marketers. Asian women are prone to making more impulse purchase decisions online as they look to the Internet for pampering, indulgent products, and instant gratification. Brands can now reach this consumer segment through more relevant, customised and experiential messages. The clever use of online media space can go a long way in changing or reinforcing her perception of a brand.
Marketing to the modern Asian woman requires careful consideration of cultural complexities and an aspiration rather than a benefit-led brand image. No matter what product brands are trying to sell, it is important that it helps her climb higher in life, make her more beautiful, gain credibility and status and attain happiness. While that’s no mean feat, successful brands will have much to gain from the loyalty of this growing consumer segment.
In: Asia, Brand communications, Brand Strategy, Insights, Luxury, Viewpoints · Tags: Asian woman, Marketing, Women