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The Myanmar Consumer Survey
Harvesting opportunities in the golden land
Much has been said about Myanmar’s economic potential: as one of the last frontiers of growth in Southeast Asia, it possesses a large, relatively young population with a burgeoning middle class and rapid rates of urbanisation. The opportunities in this golden land are no doubt evident; what is less evident is how to harvest them.
But identifying why, where and how to capitalise on these opportunities will first require an in-depth understanding of the Myanmar consumer. One common thread that runs across all their consumption and purchasing behaviours, for instance, is a pronounced practicality. When deliberating on a purchasing decision, practical product attributes often surpass price as the dominant consideration. The Myanmar consumer is also savvy, actively seeking out product information and eschewing frills such as after-sales services in favour of more frequent product upgrades.
In this second edition of the consumer survey conducted in the three cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Mawlamyine earlier this year, we observed a buoyant sense of optimism amongst Myanmar’s middle-income consumers. Encouraged by the greater access to business opportunities and higher standards of living that accompanies economic development, many of these consumers have developed a much more discerning palette. Even as necessities, such as food, remain a priority, they are now seeking out better quality options within these categories.
Later in this report, we also explore some other aspects of the consumer’s behaviour, including their strong loyalty to brands – partly a function of the availability of choice as well as the heterogeneous taste preferences of Myanmar’s ethnically diverse consumer base. Then, we take a look at the various communications and buying channels, including the continued dominance of word of mouth and traditional trade outlets. Finally, we highlight the potential of FinTech in Myanmar, which could potentially revolutionise the payments landscape by enabling mobile payments without the need for bank accounts.
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