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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Changing Tactics – Asia’s New Agritech Revolution  

In August, United Nations scientists revealed that, worldwide, farmable land is being destroyed at a rate up to 100 times faster than the rate at which new land is being developed. It’s just one of the many pressures currently faced by the global agricultural sector. In addition to substantial decreases in usable land, countries like Japan are also negotiating realities like severe labour shortages – with the number of personnel employed by the Japanese farming industry having shrunk by 60% since 1985.          
Against this backdrop, Asia’s agricultural sector is undergoing a major technological revolution. In China, drones, AI and cloud-computing are increasingly being used to address labour shortages, boost crop yields and increase supply chain efficiency. In anticipation of forecast water shortages, the Japanese government recently started using data analysis to minimise water wastage across the sector. In Australia, scientists are attempting to boost crop photosynthesis to ensure greater yield from Australian farms. Singapore’s farming sector is currently in the midst of rejuvenation – with science and technology helping the country produce more food, and with greater efficiency, than it was delivering ten years ago.   

The impacts of these innovations stretch far beyond the immediate agricultural sector. In fact, it’s unlikely many of these innovations will remain confined to a single business area; China is already using agricultural drones to address urban pollution. For any brand engaged in business encompassing food and beverage, these kinds of technologies will represent multiple major shifts for stakeholders – touching on issues as diverse as automation, genetic modification and customer service expectations.

Retailtainment: Are Your Customers Experienced?

As previously documented in Trends in Two Minutes, traditional boundaries in the retail sector have grown increasingly blurry over the past few years. With the advent of ‘New Retail’, physical and digital brands have begun to expand and hybridise into each other’s previously-exclusive spaces – digital outlets opening physical locations, brick-and-mortar stores embracing digital integration.

Retailtainment’, however, is blurring the boundaries even further. An increasingly popular evolution of the experience-driven, customer-centric model of New Retail, retailtainment sees the traditional retail customer experience infused with approaches from the leisure and entertainment sectors. Over the next ten years, retailtainment spending in Asia is expected to stretch to over US$800 billion.

Many communicators are drawing their inspiration from China’s advanced retail market. With one of the most sophisticated ecommerce ecologies in the world, China’s current retail innovations can provide ample inspiration for brands hoping to deliver a truly engaging retailtainment customer experience. One of our clients, for example, unveiled an entire interactive murder-mystery game in the midst of a shopping mall in Shanghai.

In addition to creating more valuable retail journeys for consumers, retailtainment allows businesses to deliver a more engaging and human experience at a time where such qualities are more sought-after than ever before. The challenge for brands and communicators lies in creatively expanding their current customer experience offering without diluting or compromising their existing brand identity.

A New Kind of Luxury Market For A New Generation

In aggregate, Asia represents the largest luxury market in the world. By 2025, China is expected to account for 65% of global luxury spending. Japan currently represents the third largest individual luxury market in the world. But, with the advent of new generations and audiences, Asia’s luxury market is undergoing a transformation.

Together, Millennials and Generation Z represent the two largest and most economically influential demographics in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two generations also represent the most active luxury consumer demographics, both in Asia and worldwide. And, both demographics are profoundly changing the traditional luxury market.

For example, 40% of Asian millennial luxury consumers purchase their products via mobile phone. The greater investment in social purpose showcased by both Generation Z and Millennials, meanwhile, has already facilitated the growth of a number of philanthropically-focused luxury businesses.

Overall, younger generations have been found to have the least brand loyalty of all demographics and value experiences over products – traditional brand/product communications aren’t likely to appeal. For brands and communicators, new, insight-driven strategies will be vital to successfully flourish in the luxury market. 

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