The Omnicom Media Group (OMG) 2024 APAC Trends Report breaks down the 10 main trends across consumer, media, and technology that will shape the new year, helping marketers stay ahead of the curve. Being brave and stepping out of the comfort zone is the overarching theme for all these trends.
From Connected TV to the AI hype, here are the top 10 trends the industry should keep an eye on in 2024.
1. The return of the spectacle
Revenge travel was one of the buzzwords post-pandemic and consumers are seeking larger than life experiences. 18% of those in APAC attended more live events in 2023 than they did pre-pandemic, higher than the global average of 12%. Global musicians such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift sold out six shows each across APAC in just hours. The 2024 Paris Olympics are projected to sell 10 million tickets – 2.5 million more than 2016.
That said, live experiences do not always have to be big ticket items like immersive vacations or earth-shaking concerts. At the end of the day, it is all about creating memories and it can be as simple as dressing up for or making an occasion out of anything, such as Barbenheimer in 2023.
Additionally, competitive socialising concepts have also risen by 386% since 2021, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s research. This was a result of leisure operators entering the space and consumers wanting to make new friends and try new things.
Brands can go as big as Beyonce’s Renaissance concert or as small as a competitive bowling event. Anybody can create a worthwhile experience as long as it is in line with their brand, and what consumers seek out.
2. Connected TV still has potential in APAC
Connected TV (CTV) has become a growth area globally. Statistics from GWI in the third quarter of 2023 show CTV and smart stick ownership growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 6.5%. Also, 57% of APAC marketers are shifting at least 40% of their ad budgets to CTV.
CTV is powerful in providing consumers the opportunity to curate their viewing experience. Compared to TV viewers, CTV offers a 13% increase in attention index among its viewers. There is also a six-times increase in conversion from streaming ads compared to those on TV.
Although the CTV landscape remains fragmented, it is important for brands and advertisers to keep tabs on this space as key players consolidate and streamline product offerings. Aside from TV viewing, CTV will also continue to shape the future of other areas such as shoppable media, and the way ads are bought and served on platforms. With CTV being a growing space, it is important to have one’s eye on this scene and strike while the iron is hot.
3. APAC to continue crackdown against big tech
The emergence of new technologies has led to new legislations being enacted to encourage healthy competition, ensure ethical use of consumer data, and enforce transparency. For example, Indonesia now requires eCommerce payments to be done only on shopping platforms, and Beijing mandates companies to use ‘legitimate data’ to train AI models.
While APAC does not currently have unified legislations, expect the region to take a leaf out of the European Union’s (EU) page. APAC consumers also support such legislations, with 60% of them backing government regulation of social media within their country, more than the global average of 49%.
These regulations have led to changes in the advertising industry, such as Meta launching paid, ad-free versions of its platforms by 2024 to comply with data protection regulations in the EU and India. Considering this, companies are advised to adhere to the highest standards to look out for consumers’ privacy and protect themselves from lawsuits.
There is growing cynicism among consumers when it comes to ads and this leads to deinfluencing, a trend where influencers look behind the veil of advertising to examine if a brand, product or service truly lives up to what is said about it or if consumers are better off using alternatives.
Deinfluencing gives consumers the power to demand authenticity and transparency from companies and brands are taking heed. IKEA, for example, demonstrated its understanding of consumers’ needs while displaying humility in its ‘Proudly Second Best’ campaign. The series of ads showed its products such as a cot and stool being ignored at home in favour of human touch.
It is crucial for companies to ensure the branding and influencers employed are consistent with their brand principles and walk the talk. For example, before talking about purpose and sustainability, ensure you have clear and actionable plans on how the brand is going to achieve net zero.
5. Will Generative AI still be as revolutionary a year later?
Artificial intelligence (AI) was the hottest buzzword in 2023. The hype is not expected to stop soon as 90% of online information will be AI-generated content by 2026.
ChatGPT might have seen a 10% drop in users in June 2023, but the AI boom is very much alive in the enterprise side. AI funding in 2023 increased 48% compared to 2022. Also, Apple and Meta are following in the footsteps of Google and Microsoft by deploying their own GenAI capabilities in 2024.
The AI hype is also far from over for marketers, as 42% of them use it for content creation and 39% for brainstorming. With GenAI being adopted in the workplace, companies need to find a balance between efficiency and transparency in terms of how the consumer data is being gathered and used.
6. Podcasts have more room to grow in APAC
APAC is catching up on the global podcast boom and with the West experiencing podcast-related budget cuts and layoffs last year, this will be seen as a new source of growth for brands here in the coming years.
70% of APAC consumers report a higher level of attentiveness while listening to podcasts, and 26% of podcast listeners in the region prefer ads in podcasts that feel organic. Also, 71% of consumers here take action after listening to ads on a podcast.
It is important for brands to recognise that podcast listeners seek a specific type of relationship with podcasters – they want to feel like they are chatting with friends. Therefore, brands are advised not be too intrusive.
7. All eyes on APAC
The world has always looked to the West for inspiration but brands now have their eyes on APAC as the region becomes a source for innovation and new stories. Termed ‘The Asian Century’ by McKinsey, APAC is now getting the spotlight as global brands localise their strategies, such as animal-themed luxury collections for Lunar New Year.
APAC consumers are also putting a modern twist to their heritage. Halal food options in Malaysia are now more accessible through a Halal-certified delivery fleet by foodpanda. The ‘New Chinese Style’ has emerged as a fashion trend in China that blends traditional Chinese aesthetics with Western silhouettes. Support for local businesses is also strong among most consumers in Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore.
This trend is buoyed by two things – technology and diversity. Technology allows for easier access and sharing on a global scale, and cultural diversity is an important source of pride and resilience.
Brands in APAC can leverage the rich heritage and diversity to celebrate the people in the region.
8. Health tech – Is it dangerous to over-optimise your life?
Consumers today rely on innovations in biotechnology and wearables to track their health. The treasure trove of data gathered by these apps helps brands personalise consumer experiences.
Wearables are becoming more advanced. The FRENZ Brainband tracks neurosignals to perfectly time when to wake a user. The Evie Ring tracks menstrual symptoms and generates holistic insights regarding one’s menstrual cycle.
While such personalised health information is generally classified as sensitive, data from health tracking apps are not considered health information. Hence, they do not have the same protections and could be used for non-health related purposes such as location tracking.
Brands should find a balance between providing one-of-a-kind benefits for consumers while protecting their data. They must also ensure consumers are educated on how much data is being taken and used. Only collect data that is relevant and ensure it is protected or anonymised.
9. The rise of visual search in a phygital world
Online shopping has become a norm and visual search offers a smoother experience. Humans can process images eight to 600 times faster than text. Presenting shoppers with visually similar options to their query images also boosts conversion by +6%.
This function has grown in importance for Chinese consumers, with 84% of the online population in the market using visual search at least once a month. Apps like WeChat, AliPay, Baidu, and Tmall are also leading the charge.
The rise in visual search is expected to continue in APAC in the coming years, and brands need to be prepared to offer as much product data as they can to be more easily searchable.
10. Get out of your comfort zone
Creativity has increasingly become about how companies apply to technology and not consumers. There is a danger that tech, rather than liberating us, leads us to a world of sameness with little differentiation.
Tech has led us to focus on what is easily measurable even when we know that sometimes the biggest payoffs happen over the long term. Companies might leave behind significant growth opportunities if they do not continue to drive creativity and originality in their own product and communications.
That said, some brands were bold enough to take risks. Louis Vuitton collaborated with Supreme to reach new and captured markets. The online series ‘Hot Ones’ started out on YouTube but has successfully branched out to OOH experiences. Pepsi also went retro for its 125th anniversary.
New trends and innovations have emerged post-pandemic and consumers now seek more real experiences. The world of marketing will be even more fragmented this year and brands need the courage to leave behind their comfort zones and turn the notch up on creativity or risk getting left behind.
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