WHILE competition will come from all directions for a slice of the Asean consumer market, interest in local brands will remain strong in the region, Accenture's latest study found out.
In Singapore, for instance, the impact of this movement is already apparent even in prominent retail spaces along Orchard Road. In department store stalwart, Tangs at Tang Plaza, born-and-bred Singaporean brands such as Shermay's Singapore Fine Food, Bynd Artisan (leather crafts) and Carrie K (jewellery) now occupy prominent escalator-facing retail spaces across all floors, from its kitchen sections in the basement right up to its jewellery, stationery and menswear sections.
Howie Leong, Tangs' vice-president of merchandising, said: "Globalisation has become the great equaliser. The world has also opened up quite a bit, everything is easily accessible now with the Internet and the ease of travel. There are also more local brands now than ever before, and as with anything, the more commonplace it becomes, the more accepting people are of it."
And fronting them is not just a matter of chest-thumping patriotism, these brands do keep cash tills ringing.
Local apparel label In Good Company was first stocked in Tangs in October 2013 as a part of a six-month pop-up, Mr Leong recalled. But it was so popular that the pop-up was extended to August 2014, before the brand moved to its current permanent space, which is 70 per cent larger than its previous premises.
Sales in the six-month period between last October and last month were 60 per cent higher than the corresponding period a year before.
Additionally, the department store earlier this week unveiled a new concept shop celebrating Singaporean designers. Called Born and Raised, the shop has secured exclusive rights to carry Collate The Label, a new clothing line by up-and-coming designer, Velda Tan to be unveiled at the Singapore Fashion Week in May.
"Mindsets have changed quite a bit - being local is now something to be celebrated and proud of, whereas it used to come across as inferior," said Mr Leong.
"A local brand would better understand Asian silhouette, Singapore's climate, what locals tend to prefer and what trends they can or cannot pursue."
The Accenture study additionally found that over the last five years, local companies have leveraged their inherent advantage of being locally recognised to expand aggressively beyond their traditional market and beyond Singapore. They contribute to 27 per cent of total inbound investments to Asean.
The research and consulting firm also found that most of such businesses plan to expand into one more Asean country over the next three years.