On the road to self-betterment

Economy July 31, 2018 01:00

By THE NATION

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THAI CONSUMERS are looking for ways to fulfil their desires to better themselves, according to a new survey conducted by Mintel, the global market intelligence agency.



Its latest findings revealed that as many as four in five (79 per cent) Thai consumers living in the cities would like to have a healthier diet, just over three in four (76 per cent) would like to have a better work-life balance while 73 per cent to exercise more. 

The survey was carried out in May this year among 1,500 internet users, aged 16 and over, living in the metropolitan areas of Thailand.

Almost half (48 per cent) of metro Thai consumers plan to adjust their diets over the next 12 months for their personal health and wellness. 

Of these consumers, the majority (90 per cent) plan to eat more fruits or vegetables, over half (53 per cent) are looking to reduce their meat intake and 45 per cent to follow a plant-based, vegetarian or vegan diet.

Rising income 

“Amidst rising income and rapid urbanisation, consumers in Thailand are embracing the benefits of personal wellness, and, as a result, are increasing their efforts towards self-betterment—be it physically, mentally or emotionally. Thai consumers are not only cutting back on their bad habits, but also paying more attention to what they consume. 

Our research indicates that customisation can be a key player in consumers’ pursuit of bringing positivity into their daily lives. As well, instances of customisation can be introduced in everyday products,” said Delon Wang, trends manager, Asia Pacific, at Mintel.

Customisation

Indeed, two in five (41 per cent) metro Thais think that brands which offer them the choice to personalise or customise their purchase provide the sense of a premium service. 

Additionally, the majority of metro Thais prefer the option of being able to personalise or customise in the food (67 per cent) and health and fitness (63 per cent) categories, respectively. When it comes to grooming, over half like the option of personalising or customising in the household and personal care (51 per cent) as well as the beauty and personal care categories (51 per cent), respectively.

When it comes to everyday purchases, high quality (63 per cent) is the top influencer, followed by convenience (48 per cent), price (38 per cent), durability (37 per cent), and customisation (29 per cent).

Choices via technology 

Meanwhile, it seems that the advancement in technology is shaping how Thais are consuming information and being influenced. Mintel research shows that over three in five (63 per cent) metro Thais are getting their nutritional or dietary information from online searches and over half (54 per cent) via social media or blogs. Furthermore, three in five (59 per cent) say that they are getting their beauty information from social media or blogs, while 56 per cent through online searches.

“With so many choices in the market, consumers may start skewing toward brands that help guide them in their purchase decisions and aid in their journey of self-betterment. “To stand out against the crowd, brands should consider offering advice to help inform these decisions. 

“As reflected in our research, brands can leverage digital channels to ensure they are at the top of mind among Thai consumers, especially in this day and age where more and more consumers are moving online.

“Moreover, body trackers, wearables as well as consumer data will play a large role in the future, aiding customisation and guiding consumers with their choices. We can expect to see integrated features added to surroundings, helping consumers to better understand themselves and how their surroundings can affect them. 

These present opportunities for brands and companies to reach out and target consumer movements based on lifestyle changes, and in this case, their pursuit of achieving their personal health goals. This aligns with Mintel Trend ‘Data Creators’ which discusses how consumers are creating data through their actions, movements and behaviours—all of which leave a trail and tell a story. Technology allows people to listen to this data, learn from it and react,” continued Wang.

In fact, Mintel research finds that 39 per cent of metro Thai consumers currently own or have the intention of owning smart technology in their homes.

Keeping things natural

Overall, Thai consumers are undoubtedly on the right track to living healthier lifestyles, but what exactly does a healthy meal mean to them today? Mintel research highlights that two-thirds (67 per cent) of metro Thai consumers describe ‘healthy food’ as all natural ingredients, 61 per cent as low-fat, 56 per cent organic, 55 per cent low in calorie, and 54 per cent describe ‘healthy food’ as being low in sugar. 

What’s more, more than half (53 per cent) of metro Thais are avoiding saturated fats, while 43 per cent are avoiding refined sugar and a third are avoiding salt (33 per cent) and red meat (33 per cent), respectively.

At the same time, it appears that companies in both the food and drink and beauty and personal care industries are aware of consumers’ preference for all things natural. 

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), 41 per cent of food, drink, beauty and personal care products launched in Thailand in 2017 featured a ‘natural’ claim, up from 34 per cent in 2010.

Plant-based offerings

Finally, Thai consumers are gradually warming up to the idea of plant-based food and drink offerings, finding them just as nutritious and tasty as meat-based options. 

As many as three in four (76 per cent) metro Thai consumers agree that plant protein (such as legumes and nuts) is just as nutritious as animal protein (such as meat and eggs), while more than half (55 per cent) agree that plant protein tastes better than animal protein.

“To appeal to Thai consumers who are starting to adopt better lifestyle habits, more companies should offer food, drink, beauty and personal care products that are made with natural formulations, seeing the high demand in the market. 

In addition, consumers preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of plant-based alternatives, especially as they are finding them just as nutritious and tasty as animal-based food and drink products,” concluded Jane Barnett, head of insights, South APAC, Mintel.