New study on Myanmar offers guidance to Thai investors in consumer goods sectors

Corporate November 20, 2017 01:00


THAI INVESTORS in Myanmar’s consumer good sectors should consider tapping into the Myanmar millennials demographic as a strategy to grow sales and build long-term loyalty, according to a new consumer sentiment survey.

Moreover, Thai marketers seeking growth in Myanmar should understand that the Myanmar millennial has a unique perspective on engagement with brands and businesses.

The survey, entitled “Who are Myanmar Millennials?” (WAMM?) – was commissioned and released by Vero, a public relations social, digital and creative agency headquartered in Thailand. Vero’s WAMM survey was conducted by Indochina Research, an independent market research company. 

The headline finding of the survey is that Millennials in Myanmar have a strong preference for product functionality and a low preference for brand, relative to other Asean markets.

A majority of Myanmar millennials (54 per cent) place product and service functionalities above all else – including the heritage of global brands.

“Millennial” is the name given to people born between 1982 and 2000. Today, there are approximately 16.6 million millennials in Myanmar, which accounts for roughly 33 per cent of the total population. Born with the global digital shift, this growing community is believed to be trendsetters and great indicators to how behaviours evolve and adapt to change,” said Brian Griffin, CEO of Vero in the Asean region.

“This study really reveals the power of the Myanmar millennials to shape the marketplace and influence buying decisions for the whole family. Rather than always relying on elders for direction, the study indicates that millennials are using social media as word of mouth, and this in turn impacts how families consume and which companies they favour.”

Myanmar millennials do not put the same stock in brand loyalty or brand promises, as do millennials in neighbouring countries. 

Only 46 per cent of Myanmar millennials cite brand image as a critical factor in buying decisions. This is in contrast to a high level of brand preference among millennials in Laos (72 per cent) and Cambodia (73 per cent).

Instead of brand image, most Myanmar millennials (54 per cent) are apt to make purchases based on functional aspects of the product or service. For them, Vero’s WAMM survey shows attributes such as country of origin, technology, value for money and international awards play a greater role than brand popularity or brand trust.

“Myanmar’s millennials believe that possessing a certain product helps shape their identity. They want to be part of the globalisation and modern life they observe online,” said Pattanee Jeeriphab, executive vice president, Asean of Vero. 

“Understanding how millennials view the brand can be a great opportunity for businesses to succeed in Myanmar’s competitive market and establish trends for the new generation.”

The other major takeaway from Vero’s WAMM study is that 66 per cent of Myanmar millennials put social media influence above all else in making purchasing decisions. 

More surprisingly, social media is even more influential than families, friends and even the Internet as a source for information. The survey reveals that Facebook is by far (99 per cent) the dominant platform for millennials in Myanmar – with print media, TV and radio lagging behind.

“Facebook is the gateway to the web for Myanmar people and more so for Myanmar millennials whose buying decisions are heavily influenced by Facebook,” said Su Su Htwe, senior PR and operations manager. “A strong social media strategy is a must for marketers in Myanmar.”