Thai firms advised to tap potential in Myanmar

Thai firms advised to tap potential in Myanmar

A Muslim woman walks past a billboard in Yangon. People in Myanmar are becoming more modern and their lifestyles are changing, according to a survey. PATIPAT JANTHONG
A Muslim woman walks past a billboard in Yangon. People in Myanmar are becoming more modern and their lifestyles are changing, according to a survey. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Convenience and modernisation are major factors for Thai companies keen to attract Myanmar consumers, says market research and consulting firm Envirosell Thailand.

Managing director Sarinporn Jiwanun said people in Myanmar were becoming more modern, with changing lifestyles driven by technology and innovation along with new brands and fashions, all of which have made inroads in recent years.

Some 77% of Myanmar people are low-income earners, while 14% are middle class and the rest  upper class, according to a recent survey.

The phone-use rate has risen to 97% from 72% in 2013, while most people prefer smartphones to feature phones thanks to high competition among telecoms.

Myanmar people are also interested in online communications.

New York-based Envirosell has partnered with Index Creative Village Plc to conduct consumer research in Myanmar and other Asean members.

Digital media has had a major effect on Myanmar society.

Messaging app Viber is the most popular social platform, ahead of Line and WhatsApp.

This is attributed to the high penetration rate of IT devices including PCs, notebooks and tablets.

"Myanmar people are ready to try products they've never used before such as liquid detergents and floor cleaners," Ms Sarinporn said.

She said Myanmar consumers were seeking products that made their lives easier such as refrigerators and air conditioners. Their well-being has improved considerably with more convenient transport.

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.

Meanwhile, 45% of the new generation socialise at coffee shops or events such as concerts, trade fairs and talent contests, and these ways of spending free time are becoming more widespread in society.

Ms Sarinporn said both males and females in Myanmar now pay more attention to their appearance, reflected in a 20% 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.

"Myanmar people are daring to take more challenges."

The survey found 25% of Myanmar people were keen to try new products, a bright sign for business newcomers.

Businesses can use TV ads and billboards, the most accessible media to Myanmar consumers, to promote products and attract buyers, the survey said.

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