GfK’s latest Tech Trends report highlights the five key technology trends that will have the potential to significantly impact consumers’ lives this year.
• Mobile payments will extend their reach this year, driven by consumers’ desire for a cashless, improved retail experience.
• Smart home looks set to expand beyond the smart TV
• Wearables is a market that consumers have embraced, which will continue to grow as fashion brands launch their versions.
• Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) will start to make their mark on retail and many other industries, as brands and businesses realise their capabilities.
• Autonomous vehicles have some way to go to reach mass-market adoption.
Mobile payment is making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay; while in Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own.
In a separate GfK study The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 per cent and 35 per cent respectively) while such apps are used most often in India (54 per cent) and China (48 per cent) with around half of the online population using a shopping app more than once a week. Some contributing factors to this growth include affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population, and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks.
Besides smart TVs, there is also a positive uptake of smart connected air conditioners globally with sales amounting to USD42 million in 2016, with Taiwan leading the market share in Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrating sizeable growth.
China, with its exploding middle class and strong manufacturing and tech ecosystem will lead the mass adoption drive for smart homes.
Japan is the other major player as it is not only amongst the world’s top five global markets in smart home penetration, but also has an aging population that is likely to drive growth in smart health and wellness solutions.
Apart from these two major markets, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are also expected to contribute significantly to the growth of smart homes given the large proportion of high-income households and the data connectivity in these countries.
As smart homes become a reality, the most successful brands will be those that deliver the simple, seamless experience that consumers seek.
In a GfK study carried out across 16 countries, one third (33 per cent) of respondents said they track or monitor their health or fitness via an online or mobile application, fitness band, clip or smartwatch, with China registering 45 per cent, followed by 29 per cent in both the US and Brazil, 28 per cent in Germany, and 26 per cent in France.
The wearables market is seeing a healthy double-digit growth, with an increase in 45 per cent that reached a volume of 13 million devices from January to December 2016.
“We have observed that out of the five trends identified, mobile payments, smart homes and wearables are the ones that are gaining significant traction across Southeast Asia. Recognizing these technology enabled trends and with consumers becoming more digitally connected today, it is important for brands to fully understand the shopper’s purchase journey, touchpoints across omnichannels and usage experiences to win consumers effectively” said Karthik Venkatakrishnan, Regional Director, GfK Asia.
In addition to the top three trends, the GfK report also identified Virtual and Augmented Reality and Autonomous Vehicles as two key trends that are making inroads, with greater adoption expected in the coming years.