Market Research in Southeast Asia
SIS International Southeast Asia guides clients in navigating through the many opportunities and challenges in conducting research in SEA.
The primary challenge that is often encountered would be “Language” as each country has at least 5 to hundreds of languages spoken across the country, Indonesia has over 700 languages, and in the Philippines although English and Filipino are the official languages, there are 185 languages spoken in the country.
Travelling in the region is also a challenge, Southeast Asia has 2 types of geographic regions, the mainland region consisting of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma); and the insular or island region which includes Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Insular archipelagos, like the Philippines and Indonesia, are composed of thousands of islands, requiring a huge amount of travel for large-scale nationwide studies.
Unlike most western and developed economies, there is limited availability of secondary (including online and offline) research data. Government transparency is not consistently practiced, and censorship exists for online content.
Doing Business in South East Asia:
Key Success Factors
Successful Quantitative Market Research is often conducted face-to-face, whether through intercepts or door-to-door. Personal interaction is imperative in Southeast Asia and despite the wide adoption of internet usage and mobile phones, interviews are still conducted in person. The low cost of labor and operating costs allow inexpensive execution Paper-Aided Personal Interviews. Since online surveys are often not successfully and properly executed, a growing alternative is Computer-Aided Personal Interviews which are conducted in-facility or using handheld devices (in urban areas). Hence, at SIS International, we have our on-the-ground resources to ensure localized, efficient, and successful execution of fieldwork studies.
Qualitative market research interviews are still done traditionally, although there is growing adoption of new technologies and processes through the use of innovative software and platforms.
Competitive Intelligence and Business to Business (B2B) Interviews
Although often difficult at the initiation due to lack of databases and secondary materials to identify the proper respondents, once professional and personal connections are established, most Southeast Asians are often open, helpful, and eager to share information with another professional.
Panel Providers have increased their coverage in the region, with the growing demand for market entry, industry landscape, and competitive studies. The best sources still remains memberships in professional, social, religious, and practice groups.