Since a long time ago, fresh markets have been the number one and only choice for Myanmar housewives when they need to buy something. Now in 2020, the number of modern trade channels is increasing rapidly in Myanmar. Especially in Urban areas, supermarkets and shopping centers are the new choices for quality and better service.
In the first quarter of this year, Makro, Thai wholesale center opened in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, Yangon. It became a very popular wholesale center for professional business operators and retailers. However, for most Myanmar housewives, fresh markets are still their comfort zone when it comes to buying products for the kitchen. Besides the familiar and informal feeling, there are reasons behind it.
This article will help you understand more about Myanmar housewife’s insight and behavior when buying products for the kitchen. If you can get into her mind and offer her the right thing she needs, it would be a great handicap for your brand.
Wet market is still the first choice in 2020
In order to get the Myanmar housewives insight, I have done a small interview with the help of Myanmar specialists from the Happio Team. We interviewed Myanmar housewives in 2 ranges of age: young housewives aged 20-35 and housewives aged over35 years old. For the extensive result, we tried to interview housewives from big cities which are Yangon and Mandalay and upcountry in Myanmar. Let me explain about the result.
“I go to the market because of price, freshness, and variety of choices”
– 30 years old housewife in Dawei
“Markets because Price is cheap”
– 45 years old housewife in Dawei
Housewives aged 20-35 and housewives aged over 35 years old in upcountry
In other cities apart from Yangon and Mandalay, there are very few supermarkets or even no. Hence, most housewives in rural areas, both housewives aged 20-35 and housewives aged over 35 years old, always go to fresh markets to buy products for their kitchen. Some even go to the fresh market every day in the morning.
But if they want to buy some product that is not available in the market they will find a way to get it anyway. One of my friends in the rural area of Kayin State said that his aunt always goes to Hpa-An (Capital city of Katin State) to buy kitchen utensils. Even Hpa-An is quite far from her house but she thinks the quality of the products is better there.
Some of the housewives in rural areas that I interviewed said that she comes to Yangon twice a month to buy things at supermarkets. She told me most of her neighbors also do like that. If they can not go, they will ask someone who goes to the supermarket to buy the things they need.
An interesting insight that we got is Myanmar housewives in other cities and rural areas connected to fresh markets. At the same time, if they really want some good quality or special products they will try their best to get it anyway. According to Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017, there are about 7.4% of people in rural areas that own fridges and 21.7% own rice cookers.
“I usually go to the market twice a week in the morning.
Some of the products cannot buy from the market.
so I go to City Mart (supermarket) in the afternoon
to buy fruits and snacks that my sons like. In the fresh market,
I can get fresh meat and vegetables. At the supermarket, I can get imported products.”
– 47 years old housewife in Yangon
“I usually buy from the market. The price is cheap and easy to go to.”
– 54 years old housewife in Mandalay
Housewives aged over 35 years old in the big cities
Housewives aged over 35 years old in the big cities are mostly full-time housewives. Full-time housewives have more time to spend on their shopping. So they can go to traditional trades like the fresh market more often to get fresh products such as vegetables and meat.
In the case of housewives aged over 35 years old in the big cities, fresh markets still be the first choice for them. Due to the low price, freshness, and easy to go. Then supermarkets are the next choice for buying some special products that couldn’t be found in the market like snacks and imported products.
“Mostly I buy from the supermarket. I have to go to work every day
so I don’t have time to go to the market in the morning.
I go to the supermarket because of a variety of brands.
Some of the fruits, vegetables are imported from oversea.” – 28 years old housewife in Yangon
“I buy at City Mart, because of a variety of choices
and imported from oversea.” – 25 years old housewife in Mandalay
Myanmar Housewives Aged 20-35 in the big cities
Myanmar Housewives Aged 20-35 in the big cities are mostly working women. These young Myanmar housewives have less time for shopping than others. So the supermarket nearby becomes their first choice for more convenience and time-saving. Also, they can go to buy things for the kitchens after work in the evening too. A housewife in Yangon mentioned that she buys things at City Mart, the most famous supermarket in Myanmar.
Another advantage that supermarkets provide to housewives is a variety of choices. Young Myanmar housewives love to choose and they are interested in imported products. Imported products are more likely higher quality products in their opinion. The shopping mall is the place where they can get all they want easily in a limited time.
The same point is Myanmar housewives in the big cities, both housewives aged 20-35 and housewives aged over 35 years old are now turning more to shop in modern trade like shopping centers. For the reason of plenty of things that can not be found in the market, imported products, and time-saving.
The different point is housewives aged over 35 years old are still connected to fresh markets. They still feel that the market is the place of fresh food and cheap prices.
Moreover, an interesting insight that we got is Myanmar housewives in big cities consume more imported products and products for a lifestyle more than before!
Do Myanmar Housewives like online shopping?
Sometimes I buy from E-commerce website but due to a COVID-19 situation,
I buy more from online shops. It saves my time and I don’t need to go out.
– 28 years old housewife in Yangon
Yes, I buy a lot from online. I buy cooking materials like
vegetable slicer, cutting board, and others.
– 25 years old housewife in Mandalay
Due to the COVID-19 situation, I buy from citymall.com.mm.
There are a variety of choices and I can get free delivery
when I order 20,000 kyats or more. – 47 years old housewife in Yangon
I like to see and touch the products by myself.
I don’t like buying online. – 45 years old housewife in Dawei
The answer is “yes” but only for products that they can not buy in their area and they are not in a rush of using it. If you ask about the fresh product, the answer will be “No”.
Let’s take a look at the yes group first. In Myanmar shop.com.mm, rgo47, and Citymall are the popular online shopping websites. However, for Myanmar housewives, citymall (owned by City Mart) is the one that they prefer when they want to buy products for the kitchen.
Citymall offers a wide range of groceries and household items. Whether you are looking for fresh food, kitchen grocery items, or household essentials, there are various items for you to choose from. You can also choose the time you want them to deliver the products. More than that spending more than 20,000 mmk you will get free shipping service.
The reason that some housewives buy products for their kitchen from online websites are …
- Convenience: Online shopping can solve the problem of having no time for going out and shopping. Especially in this Covid-19 situation, they even shop online to save their time and life. (If you want to know more about how brands are doing in this Covid-19 situation check this article from our Happio Team > The Quest to dominate Myanmar market during Covid-19)
- Variety: Online shopping makes the world smaller. If you want some ingredients or products for your kitchen but you can not find it in your area. You can just shop online. Many special kitchen tools and imported products are available on the websites!
- Promotion: Women love promotion! Especially, if the promotion comes with a more convenient life.
The difference between shop.com.mm and citymall is that Citymall mainly focuses on housewives’ needed products. For example grocery, breakfast essentials & dairy, meat & seafood, beverage & snacks, and household essentials. This point makes citymall become more popular among housewives.
Some housewives say no to buying products for the kitchen online. It is mostly because they like to see and touch the product before making a decision. Another reason is that they can buy the products from the market or near their place. So they don’t want to spend too much time waiting for delivery from online shops.
Although some housewives don’t like buying products for the kitchen online it doesn’t mean that they refuse online shopping media at all. In fact, sometimes they get information about new products from online and then buy it from the shops nearby. This behavior is going to be a new trend for housewives in Myanmar.
The New Ways of shopping!
- Third-party seller
There are so many third-party sellers on Facebook in Myanmar. Third-party sellers are the one who offers to receive an order, buy, and then deliver your order to your house.
For example, if I were a housewife who doesn’t like shopping on the website. But I want to buy Korean instant noodles. I will search for that product on an online shopping app. Then, choose the products I want. After that, I screenshot and send it to the third party. They will calculate the price of the products, shipping, and service fees. Some housewives said that ordering from a third party seller makes them feel more comfortable than buying from websites.
- Online window shopping
A young housewife in Yangon gives the information that she does window shopping on websites and Facebook. She always checks the trending products and promotions before buying products for her kitchen. Other than that, she also likes to compare product reviews and prices from the online shopping pages such as shop.com.mm, rgo47, citymall.com.mm before going to the shopping center or supermarket too.
Online window shopping is the interweave of online shopping and offline shopping. It fulfills the gap between the online and the physical world. It also shows that even people in Myanmar haven’t gotten used to online shopping yet but they are consuming a lot of information from many online media.
Therefore, the brand can get more awareness from Myanmar people by doing online marketing. Start by promoting your products on websites. Then, try to be in the best seller and top-rated brands list. So that people can recognize your product more and get more trust too.
What are the essential things in Myanmar Kitchens?
Ingredients used in Myanmar dishes are usually fresh. Rice is the main dish for local food and eats together with curry, soup, and some side dishes. These dishes use a variety of local products with main flavors: sour, salty, spicy, and bitter. Like many Asian kitchens, These are the essential things in Myanmar kitchens which Myanmar housewives need.
- Groceries: rice, oil, egg, salt, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, chili, ginger, and spice.
- Kitchen utensils: knives, cutting board, cooking pot, frying pan, spatula, towels, cup, dish, and spoon.
- Cleanser: dishwashing liquid
Other facilities that are optional and may help Myanmar Housewives’ life much easy is
- Electric Equipment: rice cooker and refrigerator
According to Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017, Goods that require both stable and consistent electricity supply, such as fridges, are owned more rarely than those that are less energy-intensive and can be used selectively, such as rice cookers. These items are also owned almost exclusively by households with a connection to the public grid in both urban and rural areas.
Best online selling products for the kitchen
The list below is the example of the best online selling products for the kitchen. On the E-commerce websites in Myanmar, there are many imported products from China, Malaysia, and Thailand. Many Thai brands are doing online marketing and selling products both online and offline.
To get this best selling products list, I have compared the top-selling products for the kitchen from shop.com.mm website and citymall website. Then, pick the top 3 best selling and top-rated Thai brands in each category from both websites.
- Oil (Cook, Health Chef, Tabtim)
- Fish sauce (Squid, Tiparos, Cook and Lobster)
- Soy sauce (Health Boy, Pantai Norasingh, Golden Mountain)
- Sugar (Mitrpon, Lin, Equal)
- Ready Mix and paste (Mae Pranom, Roi Thai, Fa Thai)
- Instant noodles (Yum Yum, MaMa, Wai Wai)
- Coffee (Khaoshong, Moccona, Equal)
- Canned fish (Hi Q, Eifle tower, City Selection)
- Canned fruit (UFC, Malee,
- Dishwashing liquid (Sunlight, King’s Stella Lemon, Pinto)
Most of these best online selling products are also popular in the offline market too.
Opportunity for brands
Even Myanmar housewives prefer shopping at the market and supermarket. Nevertheless, online shopping has a significant influence too. Therefore, you can start by doing online to offline marketing to draws customers from online channels to buy in physical stores. For example, promote your product on social media. Facebook promotion also increases the chance for people to see our products and leads to purchasing. Another way is selling on an e-commerce website. Being the best selling product on the website boosts the product’s reachability and awareness.
What can Happio help?
From the first article, written about the insights of Myanmar housewives in a vast perspective. If any reader or brand has any interest in deeper information, we, Happio team already have that detailed information to provide combined with our consultancy.
Over the past ten years, the Happio team has been researching Myanmar people’s insights and doing marketing in Myanmar. So, we are able to get your brand to be widely recognized in the Myanmar market. Whether with our ‘on-ground marketing’ that can reach the most specific customers directly; the ‘online marketing’ via various social media combined with the E-commerce website.
We are more than welcome to provide our consultancy in any aspect of Myanmar marketing. Just contact us via phone or email.