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Convenience and modernisation are major factors for Thai companies keen to attract Burma consumers, says market research and consulting firm Envirosell Thailand.
Partnering with Index Creative Village Plc, New York-based Envirosell conducted consumer research in Burma and other Asean members.
Managing director Sarinporn Jiwanun said people in Burma are shifting to modern lifestyles driven by technology, innovation and brands in recent years.
Survey revealed 77 percent of people in Burma are lower-income, 14 percent middle class and the remaining upper class.
Phone utility rate has risen to 97 percent from 72 percent in 2013, with most Burmese preferring smartphones in the competitive telecommunications market.
Online communications were met with great interest, with Messaging app Viber as the most popular social platform, ahead of Line and WhatsApp.
High penetration rate of IT devices including PCs, notebooks and tablets were attributed to digital media making waves in Burmese society.
“Burmese people are ready to try products they’ve never used before such as liquid detergents and floor cleaners,” Ms Sarinporn said.
She said Burmese consumers were seeking products that made their lives easier such as refrigerators and air conditioners, to improving their quality of life considerably.
At the same time, there has been a change in lifestyles as more people hang out with friends at shopping malls rather than staying at home or going to fresh markets.
45 percent of the new generation socialise at coffee shops or events such as concerts, trade fairs and talent contests, and these ways of leisure are becoming more widespread in society.
Ms Sarinporn noted both Burmese males and females are becoming more image-conscious, reflected in a 20 percent growth in sales of personal care products.
“This is surprising, as they never used to be interested in skincare products such as facial cleansers, sunscreens, hair conditioners and other treatments,” she said.
“Burmese people are daring to take more challenges.”
The survey found 25% of people in Burma were keen to try new products, a potential market for entrepreneurs and new businesses to tap into.
TV ads and billboards were found to be the most effective form of advertising as it is the most accessible to consumers, survey said.
This story was originally published on The Bangkok Post on 24 February 2015.