Singapore originated brands are growing in influence in Asia

(A) Top-of-mind brands commonly loved by Asia’s Gen Y
(B) Loyalty towards National & Local Brands in selected categories
(C) Online still fragmented and opportunities awaits next big playerPress Release Image 1

Brand Alliance, through its brand leadership platform Influential Brands®, announce 2016 Singaporean Gen Y’s* Top Brands list as part of an Asiawide market research covering 5 countries; Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China. The market research, concluded in March 2016, covers over 50 categories, ranging from Online Marketplace, Food and Beverage (F&B) and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), to Electronics and Beauty & Wellness. To determine Asia’s Top brands, Brand Alliance studied and analysed the responses from more than 6,000 Gen Y* consumers. Only top 5 brands from each country are mentioned in this press release.

*Defined as 21 – 31 years of age.

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(A) Top-of-mind brands commonly loved by Asia’s Gen Y
Across the 5 countries surveyed, counting more than 500 brands mentioned, it has emerged that 39 brands are commonly loved by most of Asia’s Gen Y (see above table). When asked for their preferred brands in each category, respondents consistently mentioned these 39 brands within the top 5 brands of their choice. This list of brands reveals interesting discoveries; one of which points to the share-of-mind that Asian-originated brands occupy in the minds of Asia’s Gen Y.

Strength and significance of Asian-originated brands – Out of the 39 top-of-mind brands mentioned above, 14 are Asian-originated brands, which makes up a healthy 36%. This reflects the trend of not just the rise of Asian-originated brands, but their strengths and significance too, especially since Asian companies have always been considered relative latecomers to brand building. Uniqlo, Watsons, AirAsia and Samsung – these are just some of the rising Asian brands of high recall.

Mr Dominic Wong, Chief Operations Officer of Watsons Singapore, said,“Watsons is delighted to once again be named one of Asia’s Top influential Brands 2016  retaining the titles of Singapore’s Best personal Care Store and Best Retail Loyalty Card whilst additionally named by Gen Y consumers to be the Top No. 1 Multi-Brand Beauty Store. At Watsons, we are committed to the customer and constantly look at ways to improve every aspect of the customer journey. This recognition from Brand Alliance will further strengthen our commitment.”

In the context of Singapore, Singapore Airlines has always been known to be the nation’s flagship brand but the survey also unveils another highly regarded Singaporean brand in the minds of Asia’s Gen Y; BreadTalk. From the research, it shows that while each country has its own share of local bakeries in top position, BreadTalk comes up as the leading, and only, commonly loved bakery brand by Gen Y across all countries.

Ms Joyce Koh, Group Senior Vice-President, Brand Development at BreadTalk comments, “We are delighted to know that Asia’s Gen Y has named BreadTalk as Top Bakery brand in Asia. Having started as Singapore’s home-grown bakery 16 years ago, and operating in Asia across 17 territories today, we truly appreciate our customers’ support and will continue to listen to their desire for creative and great tasting products.”

(B) Loyalty towards National & Local Brands in selected categories
Despite rapid globalisation, rising digital age and a high brand convergence in many categories, it is perhaps surprising that Asia’s Gen Y have showed clear loyalty towards their national and local brands too. Based on the consolidated research results, the categories that show Gen Y’s strong sense of loyalty towards one’s own country’s brands include:

Airline (Full Service) – In this category, national carriers have emerged Asia’s Gen Y’s top preference; the likes of Thai Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines are unfailingly the top choices of the respective Gen Y respondents.

Banks – When it comes to banking, local banks are natural top choices. For this category, it has emerged that international banks have yet to make an impact with the Gen Y respondents. In fact, CIMB is the only bank that is mentioned across 2 countries, the main factor of which could be due to Islamic banking needs.

Biscuits, Bread & Butter – There is something about biscuits that has spurred Asia’s Gen Y to include within their top 5 choices, brands from their same country of origin. Khong Guan (Singapore), Want Want (China), Jacob’s (Malaysia) and Roma (Indonesia) are some examples of well-loved local brands that Gen Y consume together with a basket of other international delights. In Singapore, bread is a convenient choice for many Gen Ys. Within one of their top choices, they have named Sunshine bread. SCS Butter, a familiar brand that has been in the local scene for more than a century, occupies top-of-mind too.

“Making informed dietary choices is the first step towards a better lifestyle and it all starts with the goodness of fresh ingredients. As the brand owner of Sunshine Bread we continue to develop nutritious, soft breads using high-quality ingredients that meet changing consumer needs. We are proud that SCS Butter has remained the Number One choice for consumers throughout many generations and is the trusted foundation ingredient in many delicious family recipes for baked goods,” said Dr Andy Adhiwana, Group Chief Executive Officer of Auric Pacific Group Limited.

Non-carbonated Beverage (FMCG) – It is interesting to note that each country has its own preference when it comes to non-carbonated drinks. Across the board, brand choices are distinctive, diverse and based on local taste preferences. Given the choice, Malaysian and Indonesian Gen Y almost always prefer the carbonated options. In contrast, the Singapore Gen Y are rooting more for non-carbonated varieties; tea-based beverages have emerged as their top 3 preferred non-carbonated beverage of choice.

“POKKA is proud to continue being the Top Brand preferred by Generation Y for noncarbonated beverages, and we are excited to continuously engage them deeper beyond serving their needs for good tasting quality refreshment. Their satisfaction is the hallmark of our commitment to always add value to consumers’ lives – our innovations revolve around tasty and functional beverages, each catering to different need. We would like to thank Generation Y consumers in Singapore for their trust and look forward to remain an integral part of their lives”, said Mr Alain Ong, Chief Executive Officer, POKKA International Pte Ltd.

Taxi Booking App – Despite the emergence of aggressive Taxi booking Apps, it is perhaps good news to local providers that they are still occupying within the top 5 position in the minds of their respective Gen Y customers. Good news indeed for the likes of ComfortDelgro-Taxi-Booking and SMRT Book-A-Taxi (brands not in order of preference).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – While the survey shows that 38% of Singaporean Gen Y do not visit TCM stores or clinics, majority actually do. Home-grown brands such as Eu Yan Sang, ZTP and Hockhua Tonic are brands of top-of-mind recall (brands not in order of preference).

Ms Serene Seow, Managing Director of Eu Yan Sang Singapore remarks, “Eu Yan Sang is honoured to be recognised as the top TCM brand in Singapore through Influential Brands’ Gen Y research. The findings bolster our reputation as a trusted and respected brand in the Chinese medicine industry, with the high quality and safety standards that reinforces the loyalty of our customers across generations. This strengthens our resolve to continue to remain top-of-mind amongst our customers and fellow Singaporeans by keeping TCM relevant as we innovate to meet changing needs”

C) Online still fragmented and opportunities awaits next big player
The survey reveals that the online buying scene, despite its rapid growth, is still fragmented across most categories. In fact, opportunities await for companies both online and offline :

Multi-brand Fashion & Accessories (Online) – Despite Zalora occupying top position in all markets (except China) surveyed, a sizable percentage of Gen Y are still not shopping for Fashion and Acessories online. In terms of percentage of Gen Y who do not shop for Fashion & Accessories online, Thailand leads in this case (52%), followed by Indonesia (26%),  Malaysia (24%) and Singapore (14%). In this category, it has also emerged that both international and local names are on the same level playing field.

Flight Booking (Online) – Under this category, the survey shows that the majority of Gen Y in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore (in descending order) are actually booking their flights directly with the preferred airlines.

Food Delivery Service (Online) – In Singapore, rapid growth is evident in this category. While key fast-food players are occupying the top 3 positions (with McDonald’s delivery leading), non-restaurant operators have started to gain both share-of-mind and share-of-wallet with the food-loving Singaporean Gen Y. However, opportunities exist still as newer operators have proved in recent years. For example, Foodpanda has emerged as a top choice for those surveyed.

Online Marketplace – Local brandnames are well-placed in the minds of their respective Gen Y customers. While big names such as Amazon and Lazada have clearly made their marks, having constant mention in most countries surveyed, a strong show of support is evident for the likes of Qoo10 and Carousell (brands not in order of preference).

“We are glad to note that both local and national brands have come out tops in multiple categories in this survey of Asia’s Gen Y”, said Jorge Rodriguez, Director of Strategy at Influential Brands®. “These results are important because while its true that globalisation has resulted in brand convergence ie. more people showing preference from a basket of internationally known brands, the survey has also revealed our Gen Y’s openness to embrace old and new brands. In the above categories, it seems that brand familiarity, brand credibility and trust are underlying reasons for these Gen Y’s choices. For newer categories such as Taxi- booking App and Online Marketplace, the Gen Y consumers are including a new set of considerations in their decision process including recommendations from trusted sources and brand credibility alongside the traditional considerations such as value-for-money and convenience.”

Brand Alliance amasses more than 18 years of knowledge, proven track record and expertise in regional branding for businesses in Asia Pacific. From consumer insights, corporate to retail branding and digital branding, Brand Alliance applies its unique COMPLETE BRAND INTEGRATION™ framework, which ensures a holistic approach for building sustainable brands. The Group developed Influential Brands® as a think-tank to recognise brand excellence and promote brand thought-leadership in Asia.

Appendix 2016 Singaporean Gen Y’s Top Brands

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