Singapore plans institute to study Asian consumer patterns

08:59, July 13, 2011      

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Singapore is planning to set up an institute to study consumer patterns and demands, like that of the growing Chinese consumer market, local Channel NewsAsia reported on Tuesday.

Global companies are seeing increasing need for them to study how to create products for consumers in Asia, home to a growing middle class population and increased spending power, it said.

Chinese consumers are already showing their buying appetite in many places. It is projected that more than 70 percent of China's population could be middle-class by 2030. They are expected to create a market of 10 trillion U.S. dollars for goods and services a year, the news channel said.

Paul Donato, executive vice president and chief research officer for consultancy Nielsen, said Singapore would help establish the curricula ideally suited for consumer insights.

There are no universities around the world doing the precise training that is necessary, he said.

"The institute will essentially be home-based, a clearing house where people would go to access not only case studies, to access a pipeline for talent, to access help and understanding, how to set up a regional headquarters here in Singapore," he said.

Information gathered will not only help companies sell their products to new customers, but also enable them to develop innovative products customized specifically for Asian consumers.

To develop products like shampoo or shower gel, many companies have often studied what the consumers in the Western countries wanted and what suited them.

But organizations are seeing a growing importance of shifting that attention to meet the needs of consumers in Asia. It is expected that companies will create more products and solutions based on Asian demands and then re-apply that to the west.

Singapore has set up an international panel of experts to propose how the city-state can become a pan-Asian business and innovation hub.

The Consumer Insights International Advisory Panel under the Economic Development Board, comprising 12 members from companies like Lenovo, Philips Consumer Lifestyle and Titan Industries, held an inaugural two-day meeting recently.

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