How Brands Can Become Digital Competitors in APAC

Mobile usage and commerce are growing rapidly across APAC. Smartphone use increased 70% regionally in 2020 and 86% in China. More strikingly still, 63% of APAC consumers say they most commonly shop within mobile apps, and 35% say digital wallets are their primary payment method.
In addition, APAC consumers are disproportionately young, priming them to adopt next-generation e-commerce channels and formats that are catching on more slowly in developed economies. Consider live selling, which is when brands sell products directly via livestream on social apps such as TikTok, Instagram, and Alibaba’s Taobao. China is leading the world in live selling, a practice that grew 100% there last year.
In most of APAC, a mobile-first strategy — one that easily allows consumers to shop on mobile and transact via mobile devices in-store — is table stakes. Smart brands will also get in on the action when it comes to next-gen strategies such as live selling, something that may, again, require partnering with local platforms, such as Taobao, where that is happening, or turning to agency partners who know how to approach those channels.
In addition, the primacy of mobile commerce in APAC comes with implications for digital marketing strategy. Savvy marketers go where their customers are and shorten the path to purchase by allowing them to transact where they spend their down time. For APAC digital marketers, that means orienting marketing strategy around mobile, too.