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2023 APAC Consumer & Digital Data Analytics Trends

2023 APAC Consumer & Digital Data Analytics Trends

As we enter 2023, brands are constantly having to tweak their digital and data strategies when it comes to engaging with consumers. So, for those of us in APAC who are looking to unlock invaluable consumer data and drive better experiences, here are five data trends we should pay close attention to this year.

Date : February 21st 2023

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said that “everything is going to be connected to cloud and data”. If anything, 10 years ago this statement was made and it’s an understatement. Yet, having enormous amounts of data and knowing how to effectively use it to build sustainable business advantages are two different things. In fact, according to Forrester Principal Analyst Xiaofeng Wang, in 2022, 66% of APAC marketers had invested more in first-party data collection, up from 60% in 2021. Whether that’s driving increased customer engagement, honing predictive analytics, or refining data governance, constructing both a coherent data transformation and data science plan is crucial to long term success.

As we enter 2023, brands are constantly having to tweak their data analytics and artificial intelligence strategies when it comes to engaging with consumers. For example, in Indonesia, Blibli – a one-stop e-commerce platform – was able to analyze data from active customers and run campaigns to optimize engagement time. The impact to consumer engagement led to a 43% uplift in the repeat purchase rate. So, for those of us in APAC who are looking to unlock invaluable consumer data and drive better experiences, here are five data trends we should pay close attention to in 2023.

1. Metaverse marketing and Web3 will be prominent, same goes for data science 

We might not know anyone who lives their life in the Metaverse. But that doesn’t mean its presence as a key marketing channel isn’t continuing to grow. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re seeing in 2023: APAC brands establishing a presence in the Metaverse will roughly double this year.

In 2021, some prominent global brands like Nike burst onto the Metaverse stage to engage with customers. Nike merged the physical and virtual worlds after the acquisition of a Web3 company, RTFKT, to deliver a personal sneaker NFT. Buyers can purchase the Cryptokicks iRL series that live on the Ethereum blockchain. “The Cryptokicks iRL is the first native Web3 sneaker featuring the latest technology which combines decades of Nike Sneaker innovation, with RTFKT’s vision to merge the digital and physical worlds1″. Limited to just 19,000 pairs, they have been forged as digital collectibles that can also be redeemed for physical counterparts that come with swanky features like auto-lacing and customizable lights2.

Elsewhere in APAC in 2022, companies from DBS to Gucci and Giorgio Armani set up virtual worlds, built around their brands3. In China, Tmall, the country’s largest e-commerce platform, created its first ever 11.11 Metaverse Art Exhibition. It introduced brand-new shopping experiences on the Tmall and Taobao mobile apps, in collaboration with luxury brands like Burberry and Coach. In Burberry’s case, the British luxury brand, was able to offer Chinese consumers an interactive animation of its mascot, based of NFT (non-fungible token), wearing a limited edition physical and virtual scarf. This created a unique buzz and hype given only 1,000 units of the Burberry NFT were available4.

As we enter 2023, the ongoing migration to a truly omni-channel marketing presence will continue apace. Retail and luxury brands alike are going to continue to utilize the Metaverse to further engage with consumers enabling a better understanding of their preferences on and off verse.

The main takeaway? New channels throw a new challenge for marketers in terms of how brands define value and how you can effectively measure the real-time impact of new digital engagement channels. The key lies in what data science can help achieve -from metaverse marketing tactics, and exploring the links between metaverse marketing and cross channel marketing effectiveness.

Read more on how we measure creativity here.

2. Micro-moments, hyper-personalization, AI & automation

For consumers’ taste, we’re living in the age of personalization. Over half of consumers now expect offers from brands to always be personalized. If they’re not? Well just over three-quarters of consumer will be frustrated which will turn consumers off brands. The days of a “one-size-fits-all” or “cookie-cutter” reach based approach to consumer marketing are fast disappearing.

According to the Adobe 2022 Digital Trends Report, 60% of APAC businesses consider themselves to be “effective/very effective” in using first-party data to personalize the customer experience5. That highlights the runway ahead that business in the region must invest more in personalization and an omnichannel consumer experience. But in the same survey, 74% of consumers said that trust is eroded when a personalization strategy is done poorly. To deliver efficiently on these heightened expectations, brands are going to need to collect, store, and crucially interpret, massive amounts of product and consumer data – all in a way that aligns with consumers’ expectations.

By leveraging this data, along with behavioral science, marketing technology, predictive analytics and AI, brands can reach their goals of hyper-personalization – at scale. CDPs (customer data platforms) are just one way marketers in APAC are consolidating consumer data to do just that and to have one view of the customers, segmentation and reporting. Utilizing CDP technology, brands focused on developing a customer centricity strategy that will have a key tactical advantage over their peers, giving them the ability to drive personalization across all consumer touchpoints.

According to Forrester analyst Xiaofeng Wang, CDPs across APAC are rapidly growing, especially in Greater China and Southeast Asia, due to the large volumes of customer data and unique digital ecosystems. Furthermore, the retail and financial services sector are leading CDP adoption in APAC to leverage their vast amount of first party data to deliver unique consumer experiences.

Read more on customer centricity in our white paper here.

3. Going on a diet: the cookie-less world 

Marketers are coming to terms with the new digital reality; cookies (and the associated digital tracking) are off the menu. As a result, over 50% of APAC brands are planning to invest more in first-party data collection6. But almost one-third of brands globally plan to cut their media budgets in 2023, while 15% of brands in APAC will trim spend. With cuts to media budgets and limitations in cookie-less attribution, how will brands measure success and get more for less? Below are two approaches brands can explore.

  1. Brands can optimize budgets through a holistic measurement solution, where the complete view underpins the more granular view. This top-down approach ensures you have a credible starting point when it comes to individual campaign success. Econometrical modelling, also known as Marketing Mix Modelling, allows brands to isolate the impact of internal and external factors on empowering optimization.  Using this methodology, a global cosmetics brand operating in China was able to detect the saturation effect of digital levers, shifting media spend from KOLs, which were experiencing returns, to livestreaming a more efficient profitable channel.
  2. Brands must speed up 1st party data (1PD) collection strategies as part of a holistic media approach. This involves having a clear value exchange where the consumer is getting tangible unique benefits for sharing data. In Tmall, one of APAC’s biggest e-commerce platforms, brands offer cash coupons as an incentive for customers to share their personal information, including age, mobile numbers etc, allowing for better targeting and personalization. Additionally, companies are discovering innovative ways to incentivize customers to share personal data. For example, New World Club, a loyalty program under the leading Hong Kong conglomerate New World Development, gamified 1PD collection using a “personality test” encouraging members to share their data to receive “personalized services” based on their profile.

No matter the route brands take to combat a cookie-less world, the future of identity and addressability will continue to be measurable for successful brands.

Want to learn more on our take on the cookieless world? Check it out here.

4. Evolving from automation to sustainability 

In 2023, what brands say and do aren’t going to take place in isolation from consumers. In fact, brands are now going to have to be increasingly tuned into the consumer zeitgeist. That’s because today’s consumers are more aware – and conscious – than ever before about the environment and how brands impact society at a broader level.

With this in mind, nearly three-fifths of customers and clients in APAC are raising the bar for brands– share of wallet will shift to brands practicing, environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, the majority of APAC brands (70%) think of sustainability as a core strategic goal7.  Yet, this conflicts with those that are ready to tackle the problem – only around one-quarter of APAC businesses agree they have a well-developed plan to tackle climate change.

According to a global survey of exectuives by Google Cloud, 91% of the executives agree that technology “makes it possible for our organization to be more sustainable” and 47% of the APAC executives think that technology “enables automation / outsourcing to improve sustainability”.

In Japan, Tokyo Hilton Bay leveraged Winnow Vision, a technology that allows kitchens to automatically track food waste, to reduce and optimize food management with artificial intelligence. As a result, the hotel has successfully cut waste by 30% since the adoption of the technology in January 2020, while saving the equivalent of US$31,000 annually.

Artificial Intelligence and technology will deliver real transformation by allowing companies to isolate the negative impact their operations are having on the planet: scaling improvements across their business and supply chains. Simply put, AI will enable to get an expedited path to long-term sustainability.

Learn more about AI for Sustainability here.

5. Bottlenecks hinder data transformation 

The sheer amount of data our digital footprints create means it’s not surprise that, in a recent survey, over 60% of B2C marketers in APAC are seeing data bottlenecks8.

Primarily, these stem from two of the biggest challenges APAC B2C marketers have – the quality of first party customer data and the inability to strategically act on the data and insights. A further 20% of marketers cited that accessibility of first party data as another hurdle. It’s clear from the survey that without setting a vision and strategy to enable your customer data to derive business value, the treasure trove of data at marketers’ fingertips is going to waste. Particularly in APAC where the data landscape is so fragmented.  Data strategy and consumer engagement touch points change from market to market.

For example, most brands in China use WeChat, the dominant social media platform, to build relationships with consumers.  While in Japan, much of the customer engagement is activated on another social platform – Line. In these cases, the notion of using emails and phone numbers to build a database of consumers for targeting must be thought of from a different angle.

Exhibit 1: Digital touchpoints across the customer journey are different across APAC countries

For global companies in APAC, it is up to business leaders to steer data science and AI strategies based on market nuance, while following a global business agenda. Ultimately, transformational results come from a thorough understanding of people, skills and culture. A cookie cutter approach to data transformation does and will not work.

Learn more about Data Science Transformation here.

WRAP UP: Data transformation as a real competitive advantage 

Data needs for brands are evolving as fast as the landscape they operate in, especially in APAC. Ensuring brands know how to tackle the data science challenges ahead will determine how effectively they can engage with consumers. Brands must also take the leap to truly understand the synergies of data, personalization, AI and technology, and how they impact one another.

Additionally, data and technology do not operate in isolation, they’re interconnected and function more like a diverse ecosystem. In that respect, successful brands will fully embrace a holisitc data-driven marketing strategy to be effective and meet increasingly discerning consumer demands.

Meanwhile, many companies are understandably focused on bottom-line profits, the reality is that profitable, yet sustainable business performance will better position firms as leaders in their industries.

To achieve this, leveraging best-in-class AI and data science solutions is going to be crucial in this decade and beyond.


Interested in our article and want to learn more? Contact Ekimetrics’ data experts!


  • 1 https://techwireasia.com/2022/09/perfecting-customer-journey-via-personalization/
  • 2 https://www.designboom.com/design/nike-rtfkt-sneaker-nft-real-life-cryptokicks-irl-12-06-2022/
  • 3 https://www.finews.asia/finance/37636-dbs-acquires-virtual-land-in-metaverse-tie-up
  • 4 https://www.forbes.com/sites/tiffanylung/2021/10/24/burberry-bridges-nft-with-physical-limited-edition-scarf-ahead-of-alibaba-singles-day/?sh=725c57ef2259
  • 5 https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/8-digital-customer-experience-trends-for-2023
  • 6 https://blog.commissionfactory.com/ecommerce-marketing/apac-marketing-trends
  • 7 https://www.marketing-interactive.com/sustainability-crucial-goal-well-developed-plan
  • 8 https://www.marketing-interactive.com/sea-greater-china-hottest-cdp-markets
  • https://www.forrester.com/report/the-state-of-customer-data-platforms-in-asia-pacific/RES178250
  • https://opensea.io/collection/rtfkt-cryptokicks-irl

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