PwC launches retail study focusing on Asian shoppers

  • Rapidly expanding Asian economies shaping the global economy
  • Newly affluent Asian consumer spending more and differently from shoppers in developed countries

SINGAPORE, 12 November 2013 – PwC has launched a global study in a bid to better understand how local culture and practices in developing Asia drive different types of purchase decisions and reveal features in the retail shopping experience that would inspire consumers to pay a premium. The landmark study also provides cultural insights and customer experience learnings that can inform other industries (non-retail) seeking to push their brands into new markets.

Titled PwC Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the Global Retail Apparel industry, the study surveyed nearly 3,700 shoppers from large city locales across developed (the US, the Netherlands, and Singapore) and developing (China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia) countries. Respondents were a mix of more affluent consumers and the survey took into account their shopping frequency, spend and preferences.

Said Michiel van Selm, Director, Customer & Growth Practice of PwC Southeast Asia Consulting,

“With the continued growth of Asia’s developing economies, an unprecedented proportion of the region’s population is moving up the socio-economic ladder. These rapidly expanding Asian economies are shaping the global economy. Newly affluent Asian consumers are not only spending more, they are also spending in ways different from their counterparts in more developed countries.”

PwC’s Experience Radar study is a specialised approach to customer projects which aims to uncover what customers value and translate that into actionable insights, economics and metrics by using an advanced primary research technique – adaptive choice based conjoint – which mimics and measures the actual decision making process.

The study shows 3 major findings where Asian customers differ significantly from shoppers in the US and Europe:

1. The outsized importance of brand

Two-thirds of shoppers in developing Asia agree that access to leading branded goods is the heart and soul of their ideal apparel shopping experience. These newly affluent consumers place so much value on it that they are four times more willing to pay for access to branded apparel than shoppers in developed nations.

What this means for businesses

  • Align price with brand equity: For luxury brands, premium pricing reflects exclusivity and quality, which attracts affluent developing Asia shoppers looking to showcase their status.
  • Guarantee authenticity: Businesses can help assure consumers of the authenticity of their products by providing product information and demonstrations both in-store and online, and by posting online authentication guides to help consumers identify counterfeits.

2. Other people’s opinions matter—a lot more 

Family and friends are the foundation of society in developing Asia. Relationships influence all aspects of culture, including shopping. To inform their decision-making, people create their own trust structures that combine their network of friends and family with influencers such as celebrities and blogs. People value the opinion of those they trust to drive their position on the social ladder.

What this means for businesses

  • Activate brand advocates: Using customer analytics and store knowledge, businesses can identify key brand advocates and cultivate relationships with them through incentives such as discounts and invitations to exclusive events.
  • Tap into celebrity culture: In countries like India and China, celebrity culture is a huge driver of lifestyle. Leveraging film stars, sports icons, and other celebrities can be a powerful tool in building brand awareness.
  • Educate employees: Shoppers in developing Asia are more likely to share a bad experience with friends and family. Educate and empower employees on how to turn issues into opportunities to deepen the customer relationship.
  • Create engaging social media platforms: Give customers a platform on which to share and amplify good experiences and raise issues that may need to be resolved.

3. Digital channels are a much more integrated part of the shopping experience as shoppers leapfrog a 1.0 retail experience

Seeking better access to branded merchandise and better shopping experiences, most developing Asia shoppers are shopping online—surpassing even their developed-country counterparts. Nine out of ten shoppers in developing Asia browse or buy online (versus fewer than 8 in 10 for developed countries). Online experiences can provide the richer, more robust, and more personalized shopping experiences that customers in developing Asia crave. Shoppers are using their smartphones to check prices and reviews in-store, spending an average of 15 minutes online per store visit. One in three customers want to access enhanced product information via in-store tablets.

What this means for your business

  • Harness mobile: Today’s shoppers are digitally savvy and crave additive features that use technology. Apps that provide regular style and merchandise tips or augment the in-store experience can attract savvy high-spenders and convince shoppers to stay longer.
  • Invest in omni-channel: Many shoppers in developing Asia browse online but buy in-store. Providing customers a seamless experience that allows them to access product information, pricing, and their own account information across channels is critical to building a strong retail brand.



  • About PwC’s Experience Radar 2013
    PwC’s Experience Radar 2013 study on the global retail apparel industry shows how local culture and practices in developing Asia drive different types of purchase decisions for regional consumers, and reveals features in the retail shopping experience that would inspire those consumers to pay a premium. Beyond retail, the Experience Radar provides cultural insights and learnings that can inform other industries seeking to push their brands into new markets. 
  • Survey Methodology
    Our methodology employs a conjoint survey technique to reveal insights that can be honed to improve precision. Other, more traditional customer experience studies typically do not tie to “hard economics” like value measures, price elasticity and churn metrics

Media Contact
Candy Li, PwC LLP Singapore (Tel: +65 6236 7429 Email: or