Markets like Olympic and O’Russey in Phnom Penh and the traditional fresh food markets in cities and towns across Cambodia are where the overwhelming majority of Cambodians get not only the food they eat, but also the basic household products they use.
The shopping behaviour data, provided by Indochina Research, is the result of a survey conducted by 27 people with questionnaires who interviewed 1,100 respondents from July 11 to July 24 this year.
“Despite the development of modern shopping channels, people in the main urban and sub-urban areas of Cambodia still predominantly use traditional markets for their shopping needs,” said Laurent Notin, Indochina Research’s general manager.
He says supermarkets will continue to grow, but strategies for selling new products should bear in mind the dominating importance of the traditional market.
“We believe modern shopping channels will play an increasingly important role but traditional markets will remain an essential shopping place for Cambodian people,” Notin said. “By building knowledge of Cambodian people’s shopping behaviours and monitoring them over time, businesses can quickly respond to changes and increase the efficiency of their retail strategy.”
The survey, which was conducted in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and Sihanoukville, to a radius of 25 kilometres around each city, found that most people also bought most of their electronic appliances and clothing from the traditional markets.
The survey found that in Phnom Penh, 30 per cent of respondents, all of whom also regularly shopped at traditional markets, said they purchased food at supermarkets.
“This is specific to Phnom Penh,” Notin said. The survey also found that 89 per cent of the urban and semi-urban population purchased fresh food every day. For non-food purchases, such as health and beauty care and drugs, the traditional markets still rank number one, while number two is the pharmacy and number three is the neighbourhood store.
This is true everywhere except Phnom Penh, where the supermarket comes in as number three for purchasing non-food.
Most Cambodians purchase clothing at traditional markets. In Phnom Penh, the second most popular places to buy clothing are clothing shops outside the traditional market, followed by supermarkets in third place.
“People who go to the supermarket in general are people with the highest income, which tells me that supermarkets are more expensive than other places,” Notin said. “Understanding shopping behaviours is very important to companies selling to consumers. If you know where people buy products then you can be there and sell your product.
“This data tells me you are more likely to succeed if you are putting in a shop selling clothes, shoes, fragrances or phones. We need to do further research to understand why,” Notin said.
The survey also interestingly revealed that 85 per cent of Cambodians would rather buy products they see are already popular, that other people have already purchased.
“One of the most important influences in behaviour is the behaviour of others. Social acceptance is what you need to fulfill,” Notin said.
Only 15 per cent of Cambodians surveyed said they were brave enough to buy new products.
“Fifteen per cent are the ones who buy new products and if they are convinced, the other 85 per cent will follow them,” he said.
As for media, television remains the number one purchasing influencer followed by radio, except in clothing and accessories where magazines are number two, according to the results of the survey.
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