Asia is home to some of the world’s fastest-developing economies. Here, e-commerce and communication set global trends instead of follow them.
Here is the fift of a six-part series written by Nicole Fall and Martin Roll for Think with Google.
In today’s hyper-connected world, environmental disasters have become instant global news events. Consumers across the region are becoming increasingly aware of the rise in damaging weather events and the negative effects of pollution and growing mindful of the planet’s vulnerabilities.
As a result, millions are engaging in searches and social media conversations about choosing lower-impact products. This growth in awareness of the impact of consumption on the environment, dwindling resources, and the need for a more holistic approach to personal well-being are at the heart of Mindful Impact.
Some marketers may find the concept of Mindful Impact too “new age,” but the reality is that Asia is dominated by a young population that has grown up with information at its fingertips.
To illustrate this, consider the 8X rise in searches for “plant-based diets” over the last two years and a 2X global increase in curiosity around “meatless” in the last year alone. This trend is backed up by Mintel’s findings that 24% of urban Indonesian consumers are planning to follow a plant-based or vegetarian diet and a third of Australians—the second largest consumers of meat globally—are avoiding or planning to avoid red meat.
Mindful Impact presents exciting opportunities for all businesses to connect with consumers looking for brands, services, and products that are sustainable and socially responsible. Research shows that when consumers buy sustainable products, they feel good about their decisions.
See how the trend is developing.
Businesses across the region are demonstrating their commitment to sustainability in a variety of ways, showing how commerce can work in tandem with social enterprise.
Singapore Airlines is a prime example of this trend. The company is committed to reducing its carbon emissions and protecting the environment as it continues to grow. To that end, Singapore Airlines is the exclusive airline partner in a conservation effort to save Indonesia’s Harapan Rainforest.
San Francisco-based JUST (previously Hampton Creek) recently launched its plant-derived “scrambled eggs” for Asian markets in Hong Kong. Made from mung beans, the protein-rich, zero-cholesterol product looks and tastes just like an egg.
Green Common, a plant-based cafe and grocery store with branches across Hong Kong, sold more than 800 orders of its “JUST Scramble Teriyaki and “All Day JUST Scramble” in the first six days of the product launch.
The momentum to ban single-use plastic has accelerated recently with countries implementing measures on an unprecedented scale. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stated that the country would eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022. Supermarkets in Australia—with the exception of those in New South Wales—have already phased out single-use plastic bags and the Malaysian government is aiming for a nationwide ban by mid-2019.
Purchasing sustainable products and recognizing the need for companies that do good is just one part of the Mindful Impact equation. Consumers are also looking for solutions to help them feel calmer and more connected. Corporate meditation classes offering in-house sessions for stressed executives have become popular in cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Buddhify that guide meditation have become a staple for many in the region. Yoga brands such as Lululemon and Manduka have leveraged the ancient Indian practice and turned it into an $80 billion industry.
Mindful Impact is influencing almost every facet of our lives. Consumers are attempting to lead healthier lives that focus on fitness, healthy diets, and relaxing.
When McDonald’s launched its salad options in the early 2000s, critics weren’t impressed. But today, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to see quick-service restaurant chains launch completely vegan menus featuring faux meat and cheese. The future of the cafe sector could be led by hybrid coffees, with brands like Starbucks launching drinks that offer the stimulation of coffee with the mental enhancement capabilities of herbs.
Some marketers may find the concept of Mindful Impact too “new age,” but the reality is that Asia is dominated by a young population that has grown up with information at its fingertips. The propensity to put themselves first as we have seen with Curated For Mehas also conversely made these consumers realize their actions have consequences. Together, these two trends have led to a demand for goods and services that deliver personal satisfaction and have minimal impact on their communities and environment.