From Cosmetics to Cat Food – Asia Pacific’s Consumers Embrace Online Shopping in the New Social Distancing Economy

Updated on March 20, 2024

As a marketer, you may have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 but take heart – consumers in Asia Pacific report shopping online more than usual.

The social distancing economy formed practically overnight. Internet usage surged. Your customers began hanging out online more than ever.

According to Criteo’s recent consumer survey, more than half in Asia Pacific (52%) reported they were making more online purchases. Millennials lead the way with 60% reporting an increase in online shopping.1

We’ve summarized some of the insights from the Asia Pacific survey across seven key categories:

1. Fashion & Luxury: Occasional Luxuries Still Important

Despite social distancing, consumers in APAC still want to look good. Online fashion and luxury sales in Taiwan and Korea are up slightly in 2020 over 2019, and Japan has seen sales climb.

2. Health & Beauty: Feeling Good While Staying In

Consumers may be spending more time indoors, but deodorants and cosmetics are among everyday items that are in demand in Southeast Asia. Cosmetics and haircare items are most popular in Japan.

3. Apparel & Accessories: Getting Cozy

As people have spent more time relaxing at home, sleepwear and loungewear have seen increased online sales across APAC.

4. Consumer Electronics: Keeping Connected

Stuck at home in many markets, consumers across APAC have geared up to stay connected and work from home. Australians have shopped for computers, monitors and webcams, while online sales of laptops have surged in Southeast Asia.

5. Furniture: Upgrading Home Offices

With so many people working from home, it’s not surprising that they’re upgrading their home office with office chairs and desks as the top online furniture purchases in Southeast Asia.

6. Food & Beverage: Oodles of Noodles

An Asian staple and non-perishable, noodles remain popular in Southeast Asia as shoppers continue to stock up and complement them with condiments and sauces. Meanwhile, South Koreans are sipping on carbonated beverages: The country sees a spike in online soda sales.

7. Pet Supplies: Cats Come Out on Top

Pet lovers stocked up on supplies in Southeast Asia, with cat owners buying the most.

It’s not all just catnip and computer cables – view tons of data on these and other retail categories and read solutions for dealing with the challenges of marketing in the social distancing economy here.

Helping Businesses Adapt to New Consumer Behaviors

“Brands can think of creating programs that will help customers build long-term relationships with their own online shopping channel or application. You don’t want your ads to be insensitive or tone-deaf. Instead, think of your ads as a motivational tool for your consumers as they adapt to a new way of life, and drive for relevancy with displays of products that will fit a lifestyle that requires concern for wellbeing not only for the individual consumers, but others as well.”

–  Steven Nguyen, Senior Regional Manager at Criteo, SEA

We recognize this is a time of uncertainty and change, and here at Criteo, we’re doing our best to help by sharing our data and recommending strategies for adapting to shifting consumer behaviors.

Advertising in a Social Distancing Economy

While things are changing by the day, we’re continuously monitoring the latest trends and releasing weekly insights into what advertisers can expect during our new normal. We also recently hosted two webinars for Greater China and Vietnam where we highlighted specific regional data and expanded on several key advertising strategies for marketers to adopt and adjust during COVID-19. To view those on-demand webinars, simply click the buttons below for your respective region.

1Criteo’s Coronavirus Consumer Behavior Survey, APAC, March 19-April 6, 2020

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