Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's local goods market doubles

Cambodia's local goods market doubles

Cambodia's local goods market doubles

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An employee hangs up packets of shampoo at a shop in Phnom Penh Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia's branded Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) market might double in value to US$1 billion over the next seven years, according to Unilever Indochina.

Factors influencing this are the increasing urbanisation of Cambodian society and the desire for more choice, said Maks Mukundan, Unilever Indochina’s managing director.

According to Laurent Notin, General Manager at Indochina Research, another factor contributing to the growth of FMCGs include the natural economic growth that allows consumers access to more goods as they become more affluent.

Notin said an improvement in efficiency of distribution networks and better communication also allows brand awareness to be fostered among consumers.

This last factor is particularly important if branded FMCGs are to thrive in Cambodia.

“Cambodians have increased access to communication channels such as international media and the internet and they are starting to become more familiar with established western household names,” said Mukundan. “This increased familiarity also drives consumer choice. Often consumers buy what they read and hear about which is why branded products are coming to the fore.”

Language barriers also turn consumers away from non-branded goods, said Notin. “In some sectors, brands are not customised to Cambodian consumers, for example there is no label in Khmer.”

Mukundan said this is Unilever’s advantage over other FMCGs in Cambodia.

“Branded goods – such as our own –  represent products that the consumer can trust,” he said. “They also have packaging that explains the product in an easy-to-understand manner which makes it easier for consumers to choose what they are buying.”

Cambodia’s open air and covered markets will remain the main point of sale for these products over stores and shops, said Mukundan.

Notin agrees, particularly in areas outside of Phnom Penh but does acknowledge that modern trade channels will have developed by 2020.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erika Mudie at [email protected]

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