Posted on: 5/18/2023

How Are Consumer Habits Shaping Retail Trends in Southeast Asia?


The retail and sporting goods industry is a key pillar for SRI globally, and consumer trends in Southeast Asia are aligned with what we are seeing in other regions in the world.

As is a global trend, consumers are more health conscious following the Covid pandemic and therefore have been investing more in sporting goods and active wear. People are actively seeking products that support their well-being goals and the retail and sporting goods industry has responded by offering a wide range of health-focused products to cater to this growing demand.

The travel industry is also back on its feet, so there has been an influx of tourists into Southeast Asia, bringing with them more shopping dollars to be had. In addition, ecommerce and digital transformation has been accelerated and this has resonated with an already socially engaged and mobile-first population in the region.

Incentives such as click-and-collect and free-returns that enable consumers to shop from home are seen as standard now rather than the exception and innovations in ecommerce like increased accessibility to products via social platforms like Instagram have skyrocketed in popularity and maintained stability post-pandemic.

Arguably these can never replace real life ‘touch & feel’ experiences, but ultimately, according to InMoment’s APAC Retail Consumer Trends Report, consumers are looking for a hybrid experience where technology complements their brick and mortar experiences. Consumers are accessing information and data on their mobile while shopping in-store, and younger people are becoming less  averse to personalised ads.

According to retail execs I spoke to, retail ultimately benefitted in general from the pandemic, after the initial shockwaves. While sporting goods brands have faced increased competition from luxury brands like Hermes and Technogym partnering with Dior entering the space and tech companies like TikTok making niche brands more discoverable, the competition has evolved the industry and increased innovation.

From a talent perspective, much like other industries there is increased receptiveness to remote working for roles which don’t require being based in a specific location, and we have seen a continued shift in brand regional HQs shifting from Hong Kong to Singapore. We are also seeing companies looking to grow Southeast Asian footprints as the region sees an uptick in economic growth.

Much like the music, gaming, media, and sports organisations we speak to regularly, retail brands are looking at Southeast Asia as a real area for growth and adapting corporate strategies accordingly. If you are interested in discussing further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Tom Watterson