Trends in Two Minutes is a monthly bulletin of trends hitting businesses across
Asia-Pacific with a focus on marketing and communications. 
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Nano, Micro, Squads: The New Influencer Ecology

Once considered a niche strategy, influencer marketing has since grown into a multibillion dollar global industry. By conservative estimates, it’s currently worth approximately US$2 billion worldwide. In the past two years alone, salaried positions related to the practice have more than doubled. And, the market is still evolving.

Whereas once influencer marketing was considered an exclusive province of individuals with millions of followers, strategies are growing more diverse and sophisticated. In 2019, many leading communicators are more heavily investing in micro-and nano-influencers – influencers with as a few as a couple of hundred followers who can still deliver significant ROI for their brand collaborators.

A 2018 study, for example, found that nano- and micro- influencers were considered more trusted and more knowledgeable than traditional influencers. In mature influencer markets like China, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) with smaller followings may be more suitable for some brands because they can be more exclusive and convey individuality by association. With these developments, influencer marketing for brands is poised to change considerably.

Leading sport and beauty brands have already experimented with ‘squads’ of smaller influencers – allowing them to engage diverse audiences, build stronger relationships and maintain cost-effective spend. With an evolving influencer ecosystem, brands and communicators can work smarter with current data and analytics tools to optimize their influencer budgets better than ever before. 

Approaching Asia’s Cashless Economic Future

By 2022, it’s anticipated that the transaction value of mobile payment apps will reach nearly US$14 trillion worldwide – with a significant portion of transactions taking place in Asia Pacific. In terms of cashless innovation and mobile payment technology, no market is more advanced, or evolving more rapidly, than those in Asia Pacific.

In China, it’s estimated 47% of transactions are made with digital wallets. In Japan and Australia, approximately a fifth of all consumers are already using the technology. In Malaysia, nearly 40 e-wallet start-ups are currently vying for market dominance. Singapore and Indonesia both boast rising digital payment brands with international footprints. Korea is pushing towards a cashless society by 2020 and India has been driving policies for a cashless economy since 2016. 

In Asia Pacific, mobile wallets and other fintech innovation is accelerating growth and raising financial inclusion across underserved groups to deliver unprecedented access to financial services.  Brands and companies need to understand and embrace the shift away from cash to positively impact their business.

Consumer Tech’s New Healthcare Focus 

Across the world, consumer technology is being increasingly redeployed in service of health and wellbeing. The majority of global brands in the sector are already actively investing in significant healthcare projects – from patient-facing products to aid in disease research to leveraging databases and creating better treatment strategies for patients.

It’s reflective of a larger shift in priorities among consumers regarding healthcare. Where health was once a responsibility largely relegated to specialists, consumers increasingly expect brands of all kinds to be invested in their wellbeing. Among Millennials, healthcare information is now as likely to come from technology as from a health professional.

The implications of such a shift are manifold. With global healthcare spending expected to grow by approximately US$3 trillion by 2022, brands successfully expanding into the healthcare space stand to benefit. For communicators and brands with a consumer focus, a sense of wellbeing is likely to become increasingly crucial for successful strategies.  

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