Indians experiment with brands the most in Asia: Grey

MUMBAI: India can be a fertile market for brands, providing scope for marketers to launch new products to tap a rapidly growing middle class.

According to a research by a leading advertising agency, Indian consumers lead the Asian market in being heavily influenced by current trends and are ready to indulge in and experiment with new brands.

India is also one of the top five countries in Asia at 64 per cent that is highly concerned about household finances amid a global credit crunch. Even after being experimental and optimistic about future brand consumptions, almost 45 per cent of Indians are actively saving money for the future, said a Grey Group study. 
Expectations of household finances improving have dropped from 71 per cent (2008) to 48 per cent (2009), while the number of Indians expecting their personal finances to get worse has doubled in the last year.

Overall, 80 per cent of Asians are now saving for the future wherein 50 per cent of Asians are responding with cost-effective measures and are actively shopping around for value-for-money deals to save money, said Grey in its latest "2009 Eye on Asia" study.
The economic downturn can have a deep impact on consumer behaviour. Said Grey Group Asia Pacific chairman and CEO Nirvik Singh, "More than ever before, marketers need to understand people‘s evolving attitudes and behaviours to get ready for new opportunities when the market rebounds. Grey Group‘s Eye on Asia study is built on the notion that listening to and building emotional bonds with consumers will enable business owners to differentiate their brands in this Asian century."

Almost 52 per cent of the Indian consumers are highly influenced by current trends, beating 15 other Asian countries. These include Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Following India in the second spot is Sri Lanka with about 51 per cent of the consumers strongly under the influence of current trends. Meanwhile, China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan occupy the next seven positions. 
The latest wave of Eye on Asia shows that the general optimism of the Asia region for the future has been significantly dampened but not derailed completely. Inundated with financial weariness, people generally become negative, attitudinally. The declining optimism is resulting in higher tendency to work towards brightening up their future and people are inclined to save more.

On an average, while 76 per cent of Asians believe their future will be better than the past, only 30 per cent of Asians strongly believe in this. The level of optimism is most pronounced in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. However, this view is held by only 7 per cent of Japanese, less than half of the proportion of any other Asian country.

The survey also reveals that only 14 per cent of Asians are very satisfied with their lives. Research findings substantiate that Asians are uncertain about the future, with only 30 per cent of Asians being more content than they were 12 months ago, compared to 39 per cent who are less content. Content levels in Taiwan (60 per cent) and Korea (50 per cent) have decreased.

63 per cent of Asians are satisfied with their lives today, but this average hides a wide variation in Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan where the majority are dissatisfied, the study said.

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