For this episode of Disruptive Insights, APAC interview, we have Dynata’s APAC regional team. I’ve been watching their journey through the industry from the time they were operating as a separate business entity as SSI and Research Now until today’s Dynata. They continue to leverage their experience and all-in-one solution platform for insights, activation, and measurement to drive innovative technology, uncover insights, and help businesses to make better decisions and deliver revenue growth.
In today’s interview, we will talk about opportunities the new economy has created for brands, how the consumer appetites are for alternative currencies, what digital consumers are most interested in these days, as well as the Metaverse and virtual experiences. One of the key takeaways is that we are living in a post-pandemic world and businesses need to understand the true needs of consumers and how they can address these requirements. Check out Dynata’s recent Global Consumer Trends Report, The New Experience Economy.
As always, I know you’ll enjoy listening to the conversation with the Dynata APAC team as much as I enjoyed having it; there is much to learn from it for everyone!
Meet Dynata’s APAC team
Candice Siu leads the Media and Corporate Team of Southeast Asia in Dynata. Prior to joining Dynata, she worked with Ipsos for six years taking care of Singapore and Hong Kong online research business. Before that, she managed a team with business development and project management specialists in GMI. Candice has worked in the market research and consulting industry for 20 years, with 12 years in the online research field. She specialises in online quantitative survey, multi-countries projects, and omnichannel projects.
Ardhya Tiwary is a market research professional with 12 years of experience across banking and financial services, travel, and market research. As an Associate Account Director at Dynata, Ardhya focuses on delivering profitable and sustainable growth in our core business by rolling out innovative data and research solutions.
Based in Auckland, George Glubb is Dynata’s Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand. George has been with Dynata since returning from London at the beginning of 2013. Prior to joining Dynata, George held senior sales and client development roles at Kantar Media and formerly TNS Media. In his role, George works with senior client stakeholders to ensure that the program of work delivered by Dynata addresses their clients’ needs and is delivered to the highest possible level. His experience in working with a broad range of insights industry clients across both Australia and New Zealand has provided him with a diverse view of the ever-changing requirements of clients and the industry.
This text has been edited for clarity.
Colin Wong: Hello Everyone. This is Colin Wong here, the Editor and Regional Representative, Asia Pacific from GreenBook. Welcome to the GreenBook Expert Channel interview. So far in the Disruptive Insights, Asia Pacific series, we have discussed what drove the consumers’ snack shopping habits with Mondelez International, a global shopper insight firm, and how the Universal Music Group adapted to the pandemic and promotes music across countries and cultural lines.
In this episode, we’re looking into opportunities the New Economy has created for brands, consumer appetite for Alternative Currencies, what Digital Consumers are most interested in these days, as well as the Metaverse & Virtual Experiences.
Joining me today is the Dynata APAC team: Candice Siu [Senior Account Director based in SG], Ardhya Tiwary [Associate Account Director based in India], and George Glubb [ANZ Regional Director for Core business]. So Candice, Ardhya, and George, welcome. it’s great to have you discussing some of the hottest topics with us!
Candice Siu: Thank you, Colin.
Colin Wong: I’m very glad to have you all.
George Glubb: Cheers, Colin. Great to be here.
Colin Wong: To kick off our discussion today, should we dive into the data on Alternative Currencies first? It’s a hot topic, what portion of the consumers globally have bought or invested in cryptocurrency?
Candice Siu: Well, maybe I can start with this one – according to our latest Global Consumer Trends report: The New Experience Economy – 1 in 5 consumers globally have bought or invested in cryptocurrency, higher amongst Gen Z and Millennials males, at 27% and 36% respectively.
In APAC, while Australia and China are on par with the global trend, less than one in 10 people in Japan has bought or invested in cryptocurrency.
Colin Wong: That’s very interesting Candice. Are the younger generations actually more open to alternative currencies overall?
Candice Siu: I would say so. We see the adoption rate decreases along the older generations. At the same time, males seem to welcome the alternative currencies idea a bit more than females in the same generations, to the extent that:
50% of Gen Z males are “extremely” or “very interested” in receiving their paycheck in crypto, whereas only 32% of females from the same generations say so.
Another survey we came across last month found that “Though men were early crypto adopters, women are now outpacing men as first-time purchasers. Per the findings, 38% of women made their first crypto purchase in the past 6 months compared to 30% of men.”
George Glubb: Yeah, look, it’s really exciting to see the gap is starting to close as these alternative currencies become more and more regulated and, I guess, utilised on a global scale. Looking at the data more closely, besides what Candice has mentioned, we also see that:
About a quarter of Australians (24%) say they are “extremely” or “very” interested in receiving their paycheck in cryptocurrency, which was certainly interesting. But only 16% are interested in buying Non-Fungible Tokens or “NFTs”. And I think it’s probably an understanding of what’s possible in this space that is one of the big things there.
Similarly, one in three surveyed Chinese say they are “extremely” or “very” interested in receiving their paycheck in crypto (34%). Whereas only 35% are interested in buying NFTs.
On the flip side, we saw that the Japanese consumers we spoke to are a lot more conservative. They are really not that interested in either receiving their paycheck in cryptocurrency (76%) and 72% were not interested in buying NFTs.
And really, what we think is that for the industry to grow, it’s really important that understanding consumers’ perception and the barriers to alternative currencies are key. Through tailored research studies, perhaps run through investment firms or similar, will be able to identify audience, and really find out what matters to them, and obviously in just the way that the communication around alternative currencies is made.
Colin Wong: Definitely. As the alternative currencies continue to grow, it’s really good that the Study helps us to identify the potential target audiences so we can communicate better with the tapped as well as the untapped groups accordingly with more specific messaging, it should be beneficial to both the industry and investors.
Moving to Digital Consumers right. New mindsets and behaviours have emerged from the pandemic, leading more people to shop online than ever before. What are the latest insights you see in the Global Consumer Trends study?
Ardhya Tiwary: Oh, I think that’s my favourite personal topic here because it’s about shopping after all. So yeah Colin actually, to answer your question, about 58% of consumers globally say they shop online more now than before the pandemic.
For consumers who shop online, we asked them what categories they typically purchase online. What we have confirmed is that one-time items or non-essential items such as electronics, books, toys, and games, are purchased online more than in stores.
Essential items, such as groceries, household products, and personal care, these are still being bought in-store more than online. Saying so, however, about 1 in 5 consumers in Australia and Japan now subscribe to have products like groceries, personal care, and household supplies delivered to them on a regular basis; while that figure is 1 in 4 for the rest of the world, the scale is no longer tipping one way.
Colin Wong: It makes sense as people tend to stick to the brands they know and preferences they have for the essential items, it really makes repeat purchases through subscriptions relatively easier and more convenient for everybody. So do you see any categories that have greater opportunity to grow online?
George Glubb: Yeah, look, I think over the last couple of years, we’ve seen that online shopping has become even more common. Obviously, the pandemic has played a really big part in it. But it has pushed consumers to really review their reliance on the physical stores during lockdowns. And I think there is plenty of room for predominantly retail brands to grow online in general if they are willing to and are at a position to adopt technology.
Consumers did tell us that they love the convenience and flexibility of shopping online, but one of the main drawbacks, and I guess it’s not surprising, is that they are not able to touch and feel products, so they are not able to see how they look when they’re put on, clothes, or how they can sort of see something in the physical.
And so perhaps something like Augmented Reality (AR) is becoming more and more relevant, and it could be really an effective way to bridge the gap between the end shopper experience and the digital experience.
If brands are able to embrace technology and can look to enhance consumers’ online shopping experience, through the likes of augmented reality, so that it allows them to try on products, to visualise how they look, how a piece of furniture or décor might look in their home or even in an office space. I do think that that would really help consumers at least have a bit of faith in what they’re buying and have a bit more confidence. You would actually see a really reduced level of return of items, if that were possible.
When we spoke to consumers, 3 out of 4 consumers expressed that they were interested in augmented reality shopping experiences – and among them, 8 in 10 would be at least somewhat likely to make a purchase. Interestingly, I see TikTok is about to be launching an augmented reality. I guess, consumer shopping experience tool, as well.
Colin Wong: Oh absolutely. I mean, we already see that, you know, augmented reality helps businesses to increase brand awareness and really helps them to build a loyal customer base, as well, and connect with their audience by closing the gap between imagination and reality.
Talking about this, the metaverse and virtual experiences are also something we hear often nowadays. What could you tell us about this topic?
Candice Siu: Maybe I can answer this one. From the survey findings, we see that people are now prioritising quality time with loved ones, like their kids, their parents, their spouse, taking care of their health, making time to pursue their hobbies, and create memorable experiences. For many, those experiences became virtual in the new way of living.
Demand for online experiences grew, from fitness to travel, entertainment and culture. Currently, 1 in 4 consumers is interested in some form of virtual experience in the metaverse, because free movements between countries and large events involving crowds are not fully resumed. People are also a bit more watchful after the multiple outbreaks with different COVID variants.
Ardhya Tiwary: That’s absolutely right. Global consumers want to live as normal as they could to have different experiences, from culture to travel, fitness to social. And honestly, I personally relate to this one.
Museum, art tours, theatre, opera, dance performance, music concerts, fitness classes, or say safari, zoo tours, and classes to socialise or even for fun – these are the most desired virtual experiences and are the most interested in countries like China and Spain.
As suspected, the younger generations – like Gen Z and Millennials – are the most likely to have participated in these virtual experiences since the pandemic began.
56% of people who participated in the virtual experiences are likely to have these experiences again in the next year.
For the entertainment industry, this is a great signal. The appetite is there, we can focus on how to deliver and take advantage of technology where possible.
That’s actually very interesting. I had an interview with Cassandra Tan from the Universal Music Group recently, she mentioned that subscription services for music and games are going up continuously and that concerts and performances are the kind of experiences that we want as consumers, and that’s lacking due to the pandemic.
Now we know consumers want to be entertained, right? So do we know what other factors draw our consumers to the virtual entertainment experiences that may help businesses to reach their audience?
George Glubb: Yeah, cheers Colin. I was thinking about my own personal experiences. And the idea of going to a museum virtually, whilst perhaps not what my two young daughters might want to be doing. I’m sure the museum would have appreciated it, if they haven’t been on site.
So there are certainly benefits to the virtual from the venue’s perspective, I can imagine. But yeah, look, consumers told us that they are there really are multiple elements. I think just being able to stay up in the comfort of your own home is obviously a big drawcard for some people. Being able to, I guess, take in experiences in faraway places. So things that they can’t physically actually travel to go and experience is one of the big things.
There is a perception, and I think it’s rightly so, that perhaps digital or online experiences are less costly than the real-life experiences. And look, I think just being able to do and take part in experiences that they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be able to is another thing.
And that, look, they feel safer. To be able to feel safe in the comfort of your own home and, really, just share a huge range of experiences with friends and family who live potentially hundreds and thousands of miles away is a big drawcard.
Candice Siu: Yeah, totally agree. Well, and we also see that the trend is across all generations. Though the younger generations are more adept to the metaverse and virtual experiences, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the generations aren’t interested.
One in three people over the age of 56 believes the metaverse could transform cultural experiences.
All of us would agree the development of metaverse is still an early stage, as the immersive technology advances, we expect to see more engaging virtual experiences and it should grow beyond the gaming industry.
Colin Wong: Oh absolutely, absolutely. Well, we’re just about to finish our discussion for today. So I’m going to save the best for the last by asking one more question to my very good friend George, simply because today for the first time, he actually looks better than me. So if I can take that honor.
George, from your own experiences working in our industry for so long, tell me where do you see the future of insights heading in the next 10 years? I’d like to hear from your own perspective, your own opinion, where we are going.
George Glubb: Yeah, thanks Colin, and for your kind words. Look, before I do continue on, I think I’m showing my age and my experience showing how out of touch I am when I referenced TikTok before, cause it is Snapchat, that’s onto their own augmented reality shopping experience.
So look, I think that as an example, provides a really clear view of where I think the industry is going. Technology is going to become more and more part of what we’re doing. I know here in New Zealand, we have our annual conference coming up. And the topic is about how relevant AI is in market research and insights, what role it will have and what role it should have.
And of course, there are always two sides to the story and two sides of the opinion there. But I think people and organisations, and certainly us as Dynata, have to ensure that we are up to date with the technology that is available. People want to be ahead of the next big thing. And I think, certainly, the ability to automate, to simplify, and to really provide our clients with a service that has delivered in as quick as possible way with least fuss where possible, using the best technology as to where things are heading.
And look, I think we’ve seen a pretty rapid spike in the way that technology has gone over the last 5, 10 years. I think that spike will only continue. But we’ve just got to be willing and ready to embrace it, really. Because I think it’s coming, and look, personally I think it’s a good thing. And yeah, I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunity coming from it.
Colin Wong: Thank you very much George. Now Ardhya, Candice, and George, again I want to say thank you. Let’s wrap up today’s discussion. On behalf of GreenBook, it is such a pleasure to have you guys on board and to gain all these insights that are related to our industry.
I hope our audiences have enjoyed this interview as much as I have and GreenBook looks forward to bringing more timely industry discussions and thought leadership content to everybody soon again. So thank you very much, have a great day.
George Glubb: Thanks Colin. Thanks everyone.
Candice Siu: Thank you so much.
Ardhya Tiwary: Cheers, thank you.