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Getty Images unveils research revealing people across South East Asia have a strong affinity for the environment, but show disconnect between intention and action around sustainability

August 19, 2020 • Company News

— Research also reveals people in South East Asia highly value mental and physical health almost equally and are significantly more excited about the future of technology

— Pioneer of visual trend methodology, Getty Images launches Visual GPS, the next generation of industry leading global visual research

— New proprietary insight and research identifies four key “Forces” which drive consumer decision making and how it impacts the visual content they respond to

Singapore, 19 August 2020: People living in South East Asia are highly concerned with caring for the planet, yet most people prioritise convenience over the environment, according to Visual GPS, new landmark research unveiled today by Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications and pioneer in the field of visual trend methodology. Visual GPS looks at the key forces influencing consumer decision making, both globally and in South East Asia, delivering unrivalled insight into what people care about to help brands better connect with their audience through resonant visuals.

Built on 25 years of experience, this first-of-its-kind global research effort leverages Getty Images’ proprietary sales and search data – from over one billion searches annually – as well as visual analysis from its Creative Insights team, comprised of artists, curators, archivists and art directors, along with a wide-ranging consumer survey which was completed in conjunction with global market research firm YouGov.

“We live in an increasingly visual world. Having the perfect image, video, or illustration can mean the difference between connecting with your audience or simply being bypassed,” said Kumiko Shimamoto, Vice President of Getty Images Asia. “It can be difficult to choose visual content that will resonate with your target consumer, unless you understand what’s important to your customers and what drives their decision making – this is the problem Visual GPS seeks to solve.”

The report finds that people living in South East Asia trended higher compared to the rest of the world around concerns for the environment, with 91% worried about air pollution and 84% worried about water quality. In fact, 93% of people believe the way we treat our planet now will have a large impact on the future. While over half of people globally (69%) are doing everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint, consumers from South East Asia are more likely to report this (84%). Although 85% of people see themselves as eco-friendly, almost three-quarters (70%) state they prioritise convenience over the environment. Globally, research shows consumers across the world are facing this consumption conundrum (46%), with the issue notably higher in South East Asia.

Sustainable actions continue to be top of mind for people living in South East Asia, specifically 88% are actively trying to reduce the amount of plastic they use and 75% only buy products from brands that make the effort to be eco-friendly, compared to 53% globally. This is also reflected in what customers of South East Asia are searching for on Getty Images, with searches for ‘Recycle’ up by 181%, ‘Food Waste’ up by 900%, ‘Sustainability’ up by 400%, as well as newly significant term ‘Environment Conservation’ emerging since lockdown began.

“The Visual GPS findings present a unique opportunity for brands across South East Asia to build stronger relationships with customers and engage with them on the key issues they care about – which is now more important than ever during these unprecedented times,” said Kate Rourke, Getty Images Head of Creative Insights, APAC. “Our research shows that sustainability is a universal concern across generations, gender, and countries – the opportunity for companies and brands to help consumers bridge the gap between their attitudes and actions is essential when speaking to these issues in authentic visual terms and impacting the potential for positive change.”

Visual GPS identifies the key “Forces” which drive consumer engagement and purchasing behaviour: Technology, Sustainability, Realness and Wellness.

Wellbeing is a key concern for people across South East Asia according to the report, with 92% stating they take care of themselves physically, followed closely by 84% stating they take care of themselves emotionally. Their increased desire to celebrate the good in life (87%) has become more prominent in how people in South East Asia visualise wellness in their lives.

Customer searches on Getty Images mirror these findings. Searches for ‘Together’, ‘Joy’ and ‘Wellness’ have increased by 1500%, 900% and 235%, respectively since lockdown, and for South East Asia, searches for ‘Home Workout’ and ‘Positive Thinking’ have become newly significant during this time. Companies and brands have the opportunity to focus on visualising wellness in this new way to further reflect these concepts of celebrating everyday moments.

Consumers in South East Asia also demand greater diversity and inclusion from brands, with 87% stating it’s important that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds. 77% also agree that companies and brands need to show people with all body shapes and types. Furthermore, they were almost unanimous in desiring full transparency from brands, with 85% wanting to know what goes on behind the scenes when a product is being produced.

The research also shows that people living in South East Asia rely on technology to help manage their lives and connect with loved ones, with 93% stating that technology makes them feel connected to those who matter most and having a mobile device or phone helps them feel connected to what’s happening in the world. Although they have concerns around privacy and data risks, as well as the negative impacts technology has on relationships, people across South East Asia are more optimistic about the future of technology, with 78% agreeing they are excited about how artificial intelligence could impact their lives in the future, compared to 58% of consumers globally.

For further overview and to download the full Visual GPS report visit VisualGPS.com.

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