Traditional media consumption is still highly evident among Millennials in Southeast Asia. Compared to Gen Zs, they are significantly more likely to watch TV (54%), will read magazines and newspapers (26%) and listen to the radio (30%) every day for 30 minutes. This is according to the State of Online Consumer Behaviour in Southeast Asia report, produced by ClickInsights in partnership with Magento Commerce, which surveyed 1,206 consumers in the region, covering Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
On the other hand, Gen Zs are more likely to spend 30 minutes daily on digital channels, such as video games (56%), streaming music (54%) and TikTok (18%). While free and paid streaming video were used by at least 66% of members in each generation, Gen Zs are more likely (80%) to spend time on free streaming videos each day than Millennials. Meanwhile, 70% of Millennials watch paid streaming videos compared to 66% of Gen Zs daily.
Although the decline in traditional media consumption among the Gen Zs is an interesting trend, the study said marketers should be careful about how they interpret it.
For example, it is probably not enough evidence to support the decision that their brand should only use digital media to reach Gen Zs. While Gen Zs are less likely to spend plenty of time watching TV or listening to the radio, traditional media is still considered by many to be the best way to raise mass market awareness, the study added.
Meanwhile when it comes to Facebook, the study found that 51% of Millennials in Singapore are on the platform for half an hour daily while only 26% of Gen Zs use it to the same extent. Indonesian Millennials are also much more likely to spend 30 minutes on Facebook than 30% of Gen Zs. Meanwhile in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, differences in Facebook usage between the generations is negligible.
Conversely, Instagram is slightly more likely to be used by Gen Zs (56%) on a daily basis compared to Millennials in the region on a whole. While it seems that Facebook appeals to an older audience and Instagram, a younger, the study said marketers are advised to continue to consider both as channels for reaching both age groups via digital media. This is because, the generational differences are small in Southeast Asian countries, with the exception of Singapore and Indonesia.
“While generational differences are slight, they do exist. Marketers should, therefore, consider both where they are investing and which age group they are targeting when deciding on the channels to use for raising awareness in the region,” the study explained.
Frequency of online shopping
Millennials in Southeast Asia are significantly more likely to shop online weekly compared to Gen Zs. More than a third of Millennials (34%) buy something online every week while only 16% of Gen Zs do so. This result can be surprising for those who think that successive generations are becoming increasingly “digital” and hence, younger generations should shop more online compared to the older one.
The study, however, explained that Millennials are likely to have more buying requirements than Gen Zs, who are aged 22 and below. As these needs can often be fulfilled by online merchants, the study said it makes sense that the older generation would buy more frequently online than the younger ones, whether they are more “digital” or not.
Marketers need to put aside their preconceived ideas and instead review the data to determine which demographic segments purchase more.
Since older consumers in the region shop online more often than younger ones, brands seeking frequent, repeat purchases are advised to adjust their beliefs as well as target Southeast Asia accordingly.
Interestingly, travel sites are the most popular online shopping destinations for Millennials (53%) compared to 30% of Gen Zs. This corroborates with the earlier finding that Millennials are more than twice likely to make major online travel purchases than Gen Zs.
On the contrary, brand websites are the least popular shopping destinations for Millennials (41%) and second least popular for Gen Zs (32%).
This might be a concern for client-side marketers who have invested heavily in branded eCommerce sites over the past few years. One possible reason, according to the study, is that Southeast Asian consumers prefer the simplicity of integrated marketplaces over shopping via multiple brand websites. Learning how to find what they are looking for on a brand website, navigating its checkout flow, and entering personal and credit card details may be “off-putting” to all but the most determined online shopper, the study explained.
On the flipside, another perspective on this result is that brand websites and marketplaces may satisfy different online consumer needs.
Shoppers may visit a brand site for inspiration and then make their purchase on a marketplace.
Therefore, brand marketers first need to work closely with marketplaces to ensure that there is a seamless customer experience between both parties. This includes branding, promotions and product availability. Marketers should also repurpose some of their company website to highlight brand social media channels, user-generated content and community-building special events. Finally, marketers are advised to entice brand site visitors with products which are not available in marketplaces and promote other unique brand experiences, such as flagship stores.
Security a top priority
In this digital age where data breaches are slowly becoming a commonplace in consumers’ lives, the study found that website security is a key concern for both Millennials (79%) and Gen Zs (81%) in Southeast Asia. Both parties consider this when deciding where to shop online and based on this, security should be a top priority for every company selling online, the study added.
Besides security, 79% of Millennials and 81% of Gen Zs want to see positive user reviews. That said, marketers may find it more challenging to address this concern as user reviews cannot be bought or engineered by the brand.
Discovering and fixing customer pain points is one thing marketers should focus on to encourage positive reviews.
The study also advised companies to monitor social media and respond quickly to critical comment. “Whatever approach they take, marketers need to understand that good user reviews are essential for growing eCommerce businesses in Southeast Asia.
When it comes to factors that make a delightful customer experience for both groups, having engaging visuals, intuitive website navigations and fast check-out top the list. Although customer experience factors might not top the minds of consumers, the study said it is still important for marketers to prioritise their spend to ensure their customer experience does not divert potential buyers.
Founder and managing director of ClickInsights, Jefrey Gomez, said at the start of the year, 75% of Millennials and 63% of Gen Zs anticipated spending more money online, which makes a great news for companies that had invested in their online presence in Southeast Asia over the years.
"With the current state of events caused by the COVID-19 virus where more people are staying home and choosing to make purchases online in order to practice social distancing, eCommerce businesses have the opportunity to increase acquisition even more during this period," he said.
Meanwhile, regional head of Asia Pacific commercial marketing, Adobe, Nicholas Kontopoulos, said Southeast Asia has all the fundamentals in place to weather the current market turbulence and position for ecommerce growth over the next five years. "The regional population is young and growing, both the GenZ and the Millennials said that they spent more online in 2019 than the year before and expect to spend even more in 2020," he added.