Economic Optimism is Driving Asia’s Consumers Back in Stores

Asia Shopper Forecast
Feb 24, 2023

SINGAPORE – WGSN, the global authority on trend forecasting, has published its annual flagship Asian report titled “Asia Shopper Forecast 2023”, calling out the all-important Asian consumer preferences and profiles that will impact consumer decision-making in 2023 and beyond. This definitive annual forecast helps brands, businesses and marketers to strategise and create meaningful experiences catered to the consumers of tomorrow. 

“As we enter 2023, the effects of a global economic crisis will manifest and always-rising consumer expectations will force businesses in the region to find new drivers of growth. Just as mobility in Asia-Pacific (APAC) returns to pre-pandemic levels, Asian shoppers will continue to prioritise travel and look to heading out In-Real-Life (IRL), while retailers will need to offer powerful counterpoints to digital fatigue. At the same time, the uptake of digital technologies that commenced during the pandemic, will continue to enable consumers to move seamlessly between online and offline channels.  We will also begin to see a growing desire among Asian consumers to make the most out of the present by finding respite in a variety of experiences despite the global economic slowdown,” said Jess Tang, Senior Consultant of APAC, WGSN.

With borders across Asian markets gradually opening up and quarantine measures lifted, the region will embrace a return to travel and look to welcome international tourists. Consumers in Asia will drive a physical comeback in stores, with people craving IRL, sensory, and engaging experiences. Savvier decision-makers will also emerge with more conscious buying decisions and mobile will be key to reaching consumers with convenience and speed.

The key Asia shopper behavioural trends to watch for 2023 and beyond are: 

Sensory adventurers – IRL experiences are now a key motivator for APAC consumers to head out and shop. After increased time spent online, sensory adventurers are getting out and about in 2023, seeking in-person experiences that foster creativity, excitement and tactile moments.

Phygital connectors – During the pandemic, retailers looked to shift online to connect with many first-time digital shoppers. Now as consumers are gradually venturing out, phygital connectors are still looking to the convenience of technology, and want the best of both online and offline shopping.

Thrifty indulgers – While APAC consumers feel uncertain and anxious about their future and the economy, thrifty indulgers will spend effort on hunting for products and services that create micro moments of indulgence and bring them joy on a limited budget.

Present hedonists – The shocks of Covid-19 and global political and economic uncertainty have given way to the emergence of ‘live for now’ values. This cohort of present hedonists is now prioritising their present wants to enjoy life to its fullest post-pandemic.

The conversationalists – Evolving from last year’s Social explorers, the social-driven conversationalists are now deepening their relationships with brands by forging hyper-personal connections and building conversations and trust via private messaging. 

Inclusivity advocates – The social justice movement that gathered momentum in 2020 has had a meaningful impact on consumer values. Moving ahead, the inclusivity advocates will spend more based on their social values, supporting minority-owned brands and investing in underrepresented communities.

Mindful re-assessors – A growing cohort of younger shoppers in Asia are reassessing what post-pandemic living means and accepting there will be no return to ‘normal’. The pandemic has impacted their perspective on what is considered important in life, and mindful re-assessors are looking to change the way they live and work.

Developed using its proprietary methodology to identify the signals of change and evaluate, verify and forecast trends, WGSN works with over 440 industry experts globally to map influencers, disruptors and changemakers to deliver clear and specific action points. WGSN’s consumer sentiments are selected using WGSN’s unique STEPIC framework: examining changes in society, technology, the environment, politics, industry and creativity to identify the macro forces that will drive the emotional sentiments in the years to come.

Predicting a shift in focus on the return of physical retail and the pursuit to retain a sense of lifestyle in a global economic crisis while demanding more inclusivity and diversity, WGSN’s Asia Shopper Forecast 2023 reveals what the future of Asian consumers will look like, today. 

According to the latest e-Conomy SEA  report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, SEA’s digital economy closes in on $200 billion gross merchandise value (GMV) and is projected to reach $330 billion by 2025. S&P Global Market Intelligence also predicts economies in APAC will dominate global growth in the upcoming year, with the region achieving 3.5 per cent real growth in 2023 while the US and Europe will be fighting to stave off recession. 

A copy of the sample report can be found here.



WGSN is the global authority on consumer, lifestyle and product design trends, helping brands around the world create the right products at the right time for tomorrow’s consumer. 

WGSN’s trusted forecasts power outstanding product design, enabling our customers to create a better future. Our services cover consumer insights, beauty, consumer tech, fashion, food and drink, and interiors forecasting, data analytics and expert advisory.


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