Source: Forbes, Forrester
Covid-19 affected the Asia Pacific first, the research and advisory firm Forrester expects the region will also emerge from the crisis first in 2021, before Europe and the US. Under the relentless pressure of new customer realities, the future is now in focus: The value of your company depends on how customer-obsessed, resilient, creative, and adaptive you are in jumping to the next growth curve in your industry. In 2021, businesses will further accelerate the pace of their digital activities, because they must.
In 2020, the impossible happened over and over. Faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, companies succeeded by employing technical agility and deep customer understanding.
Asia Pacific is finally entering a decade of a digitally leveled playing field in which firms in the region will be at par with or even exceed the rest of the world in terms of technology-driven business model innovation. COVID-19 affected Asia Pacific first, and Forrester expect it will also be the first to emerge from the crisis.
Here’s a sampling of what a diverse group of our analysts from across the region sees in the year 2021:
- APAC will see a platform surge. APAC is already home to some of the largest platforms in places like China and India. However, will see this battle ratcheting up in intensity, especially in India. Reliance’s Jio Platforms has already blazed the trail with a more than US$20 billion investment in their digital business. They are simultaneously lining up more investments for their retail platform. Tata in India has thrown its hat in the ring with an announcement of its super app. With Paytm, Walmart’s Flipkart in the fray, India will see some serious competition among these platforms. Likewise, Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo in China and Gojek, Grab and Shopee in Southeast Asia will be competing in their respective regions to win digital customers.
- 5G will finally make an impact, and China will be its epicenter. Markets have been hearing about 5G for some time. With low latency, high throughput and many more technology promises, 5G has caught a lot of attention. However, it still doesn’t have much to show for it in terms of business impact. This is going to change. In China, with heavy government support, rapid rollouts across the country and evolution of supporting tech, 5G will find an ideal breeding ground for innovations across various verticals. China’s experimentation and adoption of 5G-enabled business models and 5G-led innovation will offer valuable lessons to other countries and enterprises.
- Values-focused firms will deliver higher profits than those focusing on profits alone. Up to one in three customers in the APAC region make values-driven purchase decisions. This generation of asserting customers is now beginning to vote for brands with their wallets. Brands can no longer work in the shadows with a constant spotlight on each of their actions, statements, and associations across social media. They must show their explicit commitment to respect customers’ privacy, for example. They must tackle complex economic, environmental, and social challenges that impact all of us. They must do so with integrity, competence, and transparency to earn the trust and loyalty of these values-conscious consumers.
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