The Asian consumer market is increasingly including ‘want items’ onto the shopping list, as well as ‘need items.’ When does a want become a need?
Need – something you have to have or something that is necessary to live a healthy life.
Want – something that is desired.
The difference between a need and a want is pretty simple – until your disposable income increases. Chocolate? It’s a food, so mark it as a need. The tailor-made Super-180s wool suit that fits you perfectly? Well, you need another suit, so why shouldn’t it count too?
Tally up the increased wants and needs caused by a few adjustments in buying patterns of the growing Asian middle class, and suddenly market demand for soft commodities, specifically food, feed and fibre increases markedly.
Humans only really need four things to survive:
- Enough food and water to maintain your health
- Basic health care and hygiene products
- Clothing (just what you need to remain comfortable and appropriately dressed)
Does that mean that society should only buy the things they need? Probably, but this is highly unlikely in practice. The increasingly affluent Asian population wants to live, not survive, and are treating themselves to some wants along the way, but doing so when they can afford to, and enjoying those wants as the extras that they are.
As affluence levels increase, and wants become ‘normal,’ these wants become needs, such as a morning coffee, larger portion sizes, or an after dinner chocolate.
Australia is in the perfect position to supply the wants and needs of the Asian growth market, whether it is protein, sugar, fibre, or energy. China is an obvious market, but what about South East Asia, particularly Indonesia which is right on our doorstep. What better investment fundamental is there than supplying the primal needs of a growing human population?