Intelligence Applied Emerging markets
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Over 17,500 islands scattered across
the Indian Ocean, a young and literate
workforce and one of the fastest growing
middle-class populations in the world:
it’s not hard to see what has earned
Indonesia’s status as one of the MINT
countries to watch.
Disposable income has been steadily rising over the last ten years,
with Indonesians feeling more optimistic than ever about their
financial futures. Hand in hand with rising income levels is the
demand for an ever-widening pool of products, from instant
coffee and smartphones, to the latest health and beauty products.
One mistake that many brands make coming into Indonesia
for the first time is failing to look beyond the big cities. While
it’s Jakarta and Surabaya that might be seeing people spending
on iPads and flashy cars, consumers in smaller towns are still
hungry for new products, particularly in CPG categories. As new
entrants flood into the market, the ability of brands to adapt their
identities to the changing tastes, needs and aspirations of the
Indonesian consumer is what will give competitive edge. So what
are the most important lessons to take on board in this rich and
The reality of two working parents means families have far less
time to prepare meals from scratch, instead opting to go out or
to buy ready-made meals on their way home. Brands that can
meet the need for ease, convenience and instant gratification
will therefore find a willing audience. The fast food category is
growing, with Philippine chain Jollibee Foods recently announcing
plans to expand in Indonesia. The convenience culture is also
booming with the popularity of hawker stalls – food vendors
lining the street – while mini-marts like 7-Eleven have tapped
into this by creating a blend of a supermarket with inexpensive
ready-made food and seating. Youngsters will spend hours there
- chatting, surfing the Internet and drinking coffee. This setting
also appeals to Indonesians who are desperately lacking recreation
space and looking for an alternative to the street stalls that may
have been their first choice a few years ago.
Women in Indonesia play a highly influential role both at home
and at work. By 2025 over 70% of the female population will be
employed and in control of their own incomes, creating a major
opportunity for brands that can tap into this spending power
and offer women their own moment of indulgence. Luxury
department store, Galeries Lafayette, opened its doors to the
Matriarchs, mini-marts and mobile:
lessons for brands in Indonesia
Intelligence AppliedShare this
Matriarchs, mini-marts and mobile: lessons for brands in Indonesia
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new
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market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80
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Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.
Indonesian market in May last year, carrying new designer labels
such as Stella McCartney, Giambattista Valli and Christian Lacroix.
Another department store, Lotte Shopping Avenue, with its own
haul of international designers, also recently opened its first store
These aspirational choices don’t stop at fashion. New foreign
cuisines are also making their mark, with the quality and range of
French restaurants in Jakarta noticeably improving in recent years.
Yet despite these Western tastes, almost 90% of Indonesia’s
population is Muslim, meaning marketers must be sensitive to
their dietary requirements. As in other Muslim countries, domestic
consumption of alcohol is also relatively low. Some areas forbid
sales of drinks with over 5% ABV, making beer by far the most
popular choice among locals.
When it comes to media consumption, most Indonesians are keen
TV fans, with 95% of middle class households owning their own
set. Yet as in other markets, smartphones are rapidly becoming
the first choice for browsing the Internet or using social networks.
There is already near-universal mobile penetration, while one in
three new phones purchased is a smartphone. Other traditional
media – including radio and newspapers – are still used, although
less, and remain shadowed to some extent by the days of state-
controlled media. With over 60% of Indonesia’s population being
under the age of 30, many brands should be channeling a large
chunk of their budgets into mobile marketing.
With its rich natural resources, young population and booming
middle class, Indonesia will continue to appeal to the international
players. However, it is those that can identify the opportunities
beyond the big cities and tap into the growing pool of cash-
rich, time-poor consumers that will build the brand loyalty that
supports long-term growth.
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About the authors
Nilanjan Majumdar is the Head of Qualitative, TNS
Indonesia. With more than 17 years of research experience,
across the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, North Africa
and South East Asia, Nilanjan has worked across diverse
categories and markets. He is a mathematics graduate and
has an MBA in Marketing from Kolkata, India.
Suresh Subramanian is Deputy Managing Director of
TNS Indonesia with more than 19 years of marketing
experience of which he has worked for more than 13
years in Indonesia. Suresh has substantial experience in
segmentation, brand positioning, portfolio management,
communication research and advanced analytics
applications in consumer research.