Why 2018 will be the Year of the Consumer

With Asia Pacific as the center of growth for many global brands, we speak to Warren Hayashi, Adyen’s APAC President to uncover key retail insights.

Easy access to global retailers and cross-border options have taken power away from brands and placed it in the hands of consumers.

This isn’t just a trend we will see in 2018, but a direction that is and will become more apparent in retail, travel and many other industries.

Warren shares that while Europe and America continue to be vital markets for international retail brands, Asia Pacific will be a strategic stronghold for businesses expanding to Asia.

Below are some insights he covered in the 2018: Year of the Consumer report.

The rush for the consumer

In 2018, we expect to see brands wooing consumers even more aggressively.

Brands, big and small, whether local or international, will have to listen more closely to their customers.

This is led mostly by a global retail landscape that has become very competitive, and businesses want to pay more attention to their shoppers to stay top of mind.

Consumers are no longer restricted to shopping locally; likewise, retailers need not stick to selling within their countries.

Globally, especially in Asia Pacific, cross-border trade will continue to flourish.

Payments: the new loyalty program

Payments tell us a lot about customers such as the ways they prefer to pay, whether it’s by debit or credit, or whether a purchase was made via installments. They are a reflection of our cultures, preferences and habits.

For example, mobile-first cultures have inevitably led to mobile-first payment methods such as Alipay and WeChat Pay in China.

Identifying customers via their payments gives us more information than traditional loyalty programs – which only a segment of customers sign up for – making payments the ideal loyalty program.

Rise of mobile wallets

From retail businesses to ride-hailing companies, we expect to see a lot of mobile wallets starting up in Southeast Asia. But wallets are really a big consumer play and this growth adds another dimension to the rush for the consumer.

An example is Southeast Asia’s leading ride provider, Grab. With the addition of mobile wallet GrabPay, Grab adds another facet to its large car-riding portfolio.

GrabPay allows its customers to not only pay for a car or taxi ride, but also make seamless cashless payments at food stalls that typically only accept cash payments – that is, before GrabPay was launched.

Want to know more? Get the full insights with the 2018: Year of the Consumer report now.