The Far East will be the next middle-class market for retailers and manufacturers in all categories. Name brands are sought, especially when they are sold in department stores where customers can be assured they are not fakes. Retailers such as Carrefour, Walmart, and Tesco are already well established in many Asian countries, but there is plenty of room for modern retailers as consumers gain more discretionary income.
Author Laurent Sausset has been conducting surveys of shoppers in Asia for many years and his new book (released Oct. 3, 2011) details the unique characteristics of shoppers in this rapidly emerging middle class market.
Shopping Behavior in Asia: What Retailers Need to Know for Success in the Far East discusses the importance of observation among Asian shoppers. For example, Sausset writes that Asian shoppers will rarely ask for help in a store because the staff members look so busy and shoppers are unwilling to interrupt their work. A woman in Bangkok relates that she was not respected in a store because she was just wearing sandals, not leather shoes, and she lost face in the eyes of the sales associate. If shoppers see a line forming to take advantage of a special deal, they will probably join the line even if they aren't sure what is on sale.
Moving from the general to the specific, Sausset discusses the nuances of location, traffic patterns, product assortment, pricing, parking, store design, signage, loyalty programs, promotions, employee training, and even shopping carts. County-by-country, he details the relationship of retailers to shoppers in categories such as apparel, furniture, do-it-yourself, and packaged goods.
Seeing is believing in the minds of most Asian consumers and Sausset helps you "see" how to succeed in Asia.