APAC firms lead in CX spend amid surge of digital-first customers

Asia-Pacific businesses are set to outstrip other global regions in customer experience investment in 2022 in response to a pandemic-induced surge in new digital consumers and online behaviors, according to Adobe’s new 2022 Digital Trends: APAC in Focus report.

However, APAC businesses recognise that critical skills and capability gaps may hold them back as they seek to maximize this world-leading commitment to serving digital-first consumers.

“The digital rewiring of consumer mindsets in Asia Pacific has been of high benefit to those businesses who have embraced an agile digital mindset, purposeful collaboration and sped up their time-to-value ratio,” said Duncan Egan, VP of digital experience marketing at Adobe Asia Pacific and Japan. 

“Companies that overcame organisational and technology silos to work cross-functionally, were able to drive meaningful customer experiences that are personalized, real-time, relevant and connected across all channels,” said Egan.

Findings show that 77% of APAC businesses experienced a surge in new customers through digital channels over the past 18 months, and 77% saw new customer journeys. Meanwhile, just 25% of businesses believe they have significant insight into this new wave of digital-first customers.

In Southeast Asia alone, more than a third of all digital service consumers are new digital consumers due to the pandemic. These new mobile-first users in emerging APAC economies are “leapfrogging” consumers in more mature digital markets, rapidly adopting advanced digital behaviors such as mobile payments usage.

Advanced economies, like Singapore, are set to take advantage of their technological leadership and accelerate into a new era of unprecedented change. Strategies like Singapore’s “Virtually Unlimited” strategy have emphasized the importance of digitalisation for the nation to capitalise on the digital economy.

In a bid to meet new customer expectations, the majority of APAC businesses are stepping up investment in customer experience management (59%), edging ahead of North America (57%) and Europe (53%). Most APAC businesses also expect to accelerate investment in customer data technology (60%).

“Understanding and serving a new breed of online consumers, many with mobile-first preferences, has become the new competitive battleground for APAC businesses,” said Scott Rigby, chief technology advisor, Adobe Asia Pacific and Japan.

“While many organisations are responding decisively by fast-tracking investment in improving the digital experience, spend alone is unlikely to set the leaders apart,” said Rigby.

APAC’s pursuit of global leadership in digital customer experience and ensuring a return on elevated investment relies on the skills and agility to deliver. Yet the report shows that, on average, APAC businesses lag their global counterparts in these crucial operational capabilities.