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Ten Shocking Characteristics of Indonesian Consumers (Part 1)

You are the definite international marketer and your boss assigns you to go to Indonesia to make a deal or open an outlet or a rep office here. Where ? Indonesia ? How far is that from Bali ? Actually Bali is part of Indonesia. The 2004 Tsunami hit Indonesia the worst. Yes Indonesia with all its characteristics as a developing country. Yup still developing.

Why sell stuffs in Indonesia ? Only a small percentage use credit, most use cash. So it is a very potential place to sell your stuffs. With a 220 million population as your target market, it’s a comfortable market as soon as you get your business running here. But there’s a catch, bureaucracy is still needs to be reformed for easy investment process.

So you wanna make a success in selling your products in Indonesia. Then you must understand the characteristics. The source of this material is from a marketing magazine in Indonesia. There’s this guy that’s making quite a hell of a lot money for selling this knowledge through his seminars.

Well you don’t have to pay to know this. I give it too you all in English for you to read and enjoy. And its quite shocking, amusing and sometimes funny. The survey data was collected in 2007. So is not so new of a news.

The 10 unique characters are:


It turns out the majority of Indonesian consumers only think Short-term and has difficulty to think long-term for example we like instant things like detergent in sachets, supplement in sachets, all these goods sell well in Indonesia
Extra Joss similar products, hemaviton Jreng, etc. Indomie sold well.
In the opposite : it would be difficult to sell insurance because we don’t like to invest because why should we pay for something to be enjoyed in the future.
One strategy is still effective for short-minded consumers is to provide the discount and free gifts.
A proof is AC Nielsen survey shows 76% buyer likes the price discount and 18% liked the gift directly.

Character # 2: NEVER PLANNED.

Indonesian consumers are not accustomed to plan for something to do. Although already planned, but they will take decision at the last moment. These habit are also similar for the first-class consumers.

The well renown Racing System Overnight study or in completing certain tasks is common in Indonesia. In example paying seminar bills moments after people sign up.

One form of consumer behavior that has no plan is IMPULSIVE BUYING (buying without a plan / spontaneous buying when interested in a product).

Based on the Nielsen survey, 85% of shoppers turned out to modern retail tend to shop something that is not planned. The best strategy for this character is to make display interesting as possible and strategically place or can be assisted with the SPG.
No wonder when I go the supermarket there’s all these displays.

Character # 3: LIKE TO GATHER

Gathering habits are deeply embedded in our consumer culture, until the term "mangan ora mangan kumpul" in the Java community which means “eat or no what’s important is that we gather”.

The most effective strategy for these characters is the Word of mouth communication strategy, this is proven in the Real estate business. There’s more house sold or lubricating oil sold using this strategy.
Amanda achieved success in brownies and Kartika Sari from Bandung also rely on this strategy. Key words from this word of mouth strategy is located on a community leader’s opinion from existing communities.
CHARACTER # 4: Technology Illiterate.

“Does this gadget have Facebook in it ? I don’t like the internet, I want Facebook only”. This shows the lack of knowledge in new technologies.
The low penetration of high technology in Indonesia showed that the majority our consumers is still relatively "clueless about computers and IT" so that the adoption of a technology relatively much slower.

This is evident in the survey about the reasons for consumers don’t not use mobile banking, 32.66% said they did not know to operate and 16.75 considered unsafe.
So also with the penetration of Internet usage, new figures touched 9.0% compared to Malaysia which has 47.8% penetration.

The low level of penetration of this high-tech products is closely related to with education level of our society. But do not be pessimistic first. Because, young consumers are now more adaptable to new technologies because of the globalization.
Unfortunately, their purchasing power is not so high. To overcome the problem
This purchasing power, marketers could carry PRICE bundling strategy, as in do Fren, Esia, Flexi and others.

Can also be done with ease of use by Nokia.


Consumers we tend to judge and choose something from outer appearance.
How it looks will be more interesting things rather than the thing itself.

Three specific characteristics of our customers to absorb the information.
* First, have a low interest in reading.
* Second, choose the right things from reading or watching a light and entertaining.
* Third, easy to change perceptions.

The impact of these characteristics on the consumption behavior of Indonesian people
evidenced by the SMS information service service-dominated music . Other examples are ring tones and the high rating infotainment events.

Consumers' reluctance to read also causes less consider the information contained in a product.

Many pharmaceutical products that have the exact same content and the same functions but for different ways of communication, eventually created the perception that others also. This means that they will focus on features but forgot what the product or the basic function of the product itself.

Approximately 99% of consumers do not understand the content of OTC drugs.

Go to Part II of this Article

To be continued ...

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1 Komentar untuk "Ten Shocking Characteristics of Indonesian Consumers (Part 1)"

Ggreat article, dude. Can't wait to read the next part!

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