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The Future of Retail in Asia-Pacific: Digital Leaders, Fast Modernizers and More

Segmenting Asia-Pacific countries by digital disruption and market maturity can make sense of a disparate industry’s likely evolution.

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The Future of Retail in Asia-Pacific: Digital Leaders, Fast Modernizers and More

Asia-Pacific retail is dizzyingly diverse. To tease out the hidden patterns, we assessed a market’s maturity, gauged by the popularity of traditional retail channels, concentration in the grocery market and other measures. Then we mapped it against that country’s current digital disruption, using metrics such as online penetration and the e-commerce market share of the top digital players. Segmented in this way, Asia-Pacific countries cluster into four categories, each with its own trajectory.

Our analysis highlights how the massive shifts in global retail are happening even more rapidly in Asia-Pacific. India, Vietnam and Indonesia are “fast modernizers,” for instance. Their disruption and maturity levels are low today, but they are set for disproportionate digital acceleration—thereby emulating China, which has combined digital leadership with low market maturity and will continue to be in the e-commerce vanguard. Meanwhile, South Korea’s durable digital prowess makes it a case study for other “mature followers” (a group that Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are poised to join).

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