Thai keenest on trying new foods, drinks: survey
Thai shoppers are Asia's top enthusiasts for new food and drink products, while brand familiarity and marketing communication through television remain key, according to a recent market survey by Nielsen (Thailand).
The "Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment", which trawled more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries, found that Thais were the most avid consumers in Asian markets when it came to trying out new products in the food and beverage category, followed by shoppers in China and the Philippines.
However, brand familiarity still resonates strongly among shoppers, with 68 per cent preferring to buy new products from a familiar brand.
Moreover, only three out of 10 Thais are willing to switch brands.
The report also found that 97 per cent of Thai shoppers had purchased at least one newly launched food or drink product in a span of six months.
Albany Woo, vice president of Nielsen for innovation practice, Asia-Pacific, said innovating on established brands that were already trusted by consumers in Thailand could be a powerful strategy for companies that are shifting their attention to consumers in this growth-engine market.
Despite two out of three Thais appreciating new product choices from manufacturers, the same proportion also indicated that they would wait until a new product or innovation had proved itself in the market before making a purchase decision.
In addition, when it comes to pricing, only one-third of Thais are willing to pay more for innovation.
Interestingly, despite Asia-Pacific consumers' preference for global brands, close to half of Thais - 45 per cent - prefer to purchase local brands and innovations.
"Among Asian developing markets where preference for global brands is generally high because of the perception of status and quality that global brands provide, Thai consumers are significantly more open to local brands and innovations," he said.
This is largely due to the major presence of local giants within the country, especially in the food and beverage category where new-product adoption among Thai consumers is very high compared with other markets in the region.
Television advertising remains the region's most important medium for consumers to learn about new product offerings, accounting for 39 per cent.
Thailand topped the list in this respect, with six out of 10 consumers claiming television to be their first source of information and eight out of 10 indicating they are likely to purchase a new product based on seeing its advertisements.
Notably, the survey also found that in-store presence played an important role in new-product purchase decisions for Thai consumers, at more than 84 per cent.
They claim to buy a new product because they see it displayed, whereas in other Asian markets, word of mouth from friends and family plays a more important role.
Woo also suggested that by focusing on unmet needs, creating a distinct solution and developing a market-ready offer, marketers and manufacturers should create the best opportunity to succeed with consumers in Thailand.