The Changing Behaviour of Affluent Asia Pacific Consumers in 2018 (Part 2)


Amrita Banta | January 31, 2018

Agility’s study into the changing behaviour of affluent Asia Pacific consumers sheds some light on the growing demand for virtual reality, AI and how China’s female consumer is becoming a driving force.

Every January, through thousands of surveys with affluent consumers, Agility Research & Strategy distils a volume of data into insights for premium brands.

These insights help brands unlock growth and understand the dynamics of changing consumer behaviour across the region. Agility’s annual Affluent Insights™ study also includes conversations with experts in the luxury, travel, and finance sectors to provide a holistic view of the consumer landscape for the coming year.

For this year’s study, Agility interviewed close to 3,000 affluent respondents across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.

This is the final part in Agility’s investigation into the behaviour of affluent Asia Pacific consumers in 2018. In part one, we looked at new ways of purchasing luxury goods, the most popular platforms for information on brands, and the renewed interest in acquiring luxury watches. Here are our additional, top insights for brands to look out for in 2018.

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Luxury brands & dining experiences- worthy of an Instagram post

Dining out as a way to explore new experiences, tastes, and interior designs and concepts has become more popular among affluent consumers in Asia Pacific, especially among millennials. It’s no longer just about what you eat, but also where you eat, and then posting it on Instagram and other social media channels. Michelin starred restaurants are the current obsessions in Asia, with more and more restaurants being awarded every day.

Designer luxury restaurants are also currently in trend like the Café Dior in Seoul, 1921 Gucci in Shanghai, and Beige at Chanel in Tokyo. The trend is not only limited  to Asia Pacific, but also Europe, like Milan’s Bar Luce by Prada, and North America, like New York’s Blue Box Café at Tiffany and Co. In 2018, it can be predicted that more brands will open their own restaurant across cities worldwide.

Image credit: Pierre Hermé. Image: Café Dior in Seoul. 

Asia Pacific consumers welcome Virtual/Augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence interactions 

Across the region, personalized service and physical interaction with brands (be it at store, events, or exhibitions) are considered very important in influencing purchase. However, affluent Asia Pacific consumers are always excited about new innovations and technologies.

With the commercialization of virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence as marketing and customer service tools in the market, luxury brands will be able to bring personalized and more “authentic” online experiences, including via smart phones. Imagine having a full conversation with an AI shop assistant who knows everything about you, or which dress to buy for an upcoming wedding party, as if it was your best friend. Or imagine being able to try on makeup, which you can usually only do at department stores, through an augmented reality app on your mobile phone. Affluent Asia Pacific consumers are excited to try all these new innovations.

For millennials, innovation/technology trumps heritage of the brand

Based on our research, Asia Pacific millennials pay more attention to a brands’ innovation/technology rather than heritage or history, which can be attributed to their tech savviness. Luxury marketers should focus more on the technology side  than just he brand’s heritage alone.

For millionaires social responsibility trumps brand recognition

This might be surprising considering the stereotype that millionaires like to show off their luxury goods and jewellery. In 2018 however they will care more about the social responsibility of the brands they are wearing rather than if the brands they are using are recognisable.

This might be due to the combination of social consciousness and a mindset of inconspicuous consumption.  Interestingly we find an increasing trend among the high net worth consumers where they are becoming more  discreet about the brands they wear and more subtle in the way they dress.

Casual streetwear worn by millennials and teenagers is creating a whole new Hype Beast Culture

In the past, the concept of “luxury fashion” has often been associated with haute couture and intricately designed ready to wear. However, in 2018, luxury streetwear is now as much in demand as other luxury fashion brands.

With the rise in casual dressing and the acceptance of hip hop and the skater sub-cultures in Asia as well as the commercial success of Supreme x Louis Vuitton and other major brands like Balenciaga and Givenchy, we see streetwear focused brands like BAPE and Off-White as part of every young consumers wardrobe in 2018.

Image credit: Louis Vuitton

Affluent women as a driving force behind purchasing personal finance, real estate and cars, not just fashion, jewellery, and beauty

In 2018, female consumers will become the driving force behind the traditional “masculine” domain of purchasing  personal finance (including equities, mutual bonds, insurance), real estate, and luxury cars. The Majority of female millionaires are self-determining  in terms of their own finances and many are considering buying properties internationally, especially in the United States or Australia. 

Affluent women also spend as much money as affluent men on cars and this is especially true in China, where luxury car brands like Audi and Aston Martin have created marketing campaigns specifically targeted at women.

Cars | Millennials | UHNW