October 30, 2017

This year’s Millennial 20/20 Asia summit was focused on charting the future of retail, marketing and commerce from the perspective of Asia’s digitally-savvy consumers. 3,000 attendees from 31 countries came together at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum to examine the relentless pace of innovation and disruption across key industries in anticipation of the “experience revolution” for future commerce. The summit hosted more than 3,000 of the world’s most disruptive brands, retailers, solution providers and personalities who anchored more than 70 panel discussions, presentations, and showcases across the summit’s two days.

In its second edition, the Millennial 20/20 Asia Summit welcomed new industry segments and content such as Finance, AI and Virtual & Augmented Reality, as well as hosted experiential showcases by Facebook, Salesforce, Unilever Foundry, The Economist, Mondelēz International, Blippar, and Ksubaka. The brand showcases allowed visitors to interact with innovations and technologies set to unlock new possibilities and frontiers, unearthing greater insight and analytics that will better equip them to tackle challenges from tomorrow’s ever-evolving marketplace.

Speaking at the close of the summit, Simon Berger, Founding Partner, Millennial 20/20 said: “It’s great to see that the success of last year’s event has reached a new level this year! The line-up of speakers sponsors and showcases raised the bar this week, and I am already excited for next year’s agenda. The highlights for me this year included the Salesforce Closing party and the successful launch of the inaugural Millennial Ones to Watch Awards. I thank all our partners and trendsetting brands and industry innovators that support the Summit and I look forward to seeing you all again soon! M20/20 really embraces the new way to do business!”


Highlights from day one include the opening keynote by Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman & CEO of ONE Championship, who shared how the largest sports media property in Asia he built from ground zero answers the pain points in engaging a younger audience. Personalisation in e-commerce and the revival of brick-and-mortar through curating in-store experiences as discussed by Levi Strauss & Co., Kimberly-Clark, and Criteo, also proved to be a hot topic of discussion.

Standout sessions from day two included a presentation by pioneers of the sharing economy, Uxin Group, Homeaway, Agoda, and Go-Jek on how to market products they don’t even own, and what ingredients are essential to define a unique value proposition for their company; and a panel in the Food & Beverage track discussing how Accenture, The Coca-Cola Company, and Uber are leading the Asian Consumer Revolution with their firm grasp on the region’s demand for personalised services, multiple languages, channel agnosticism, delivering services and solutions that meets Asia’s immediate desires, and its collective personality.

Visitors were also treated to a variety of engaging showcases, offering them a glimpse into the near and far future of marketing, retail and commerce – Feeding the Future by The Economist gave visitors a taste of man-made, sustainable meat, while A Vision of Marketing of Tomorrow and a Plan for Today showcase by Facebook saw visitors order coffees through a chatbot. Salesforce, one of the main sponsors for the summit this year, are also showcasing Salesforce Einstein that helps businesses connect to their customers in a whole new way. Finally, the Unilever Foundry Start-up street brought together some of the world’s most ambitious start-ups that exhibited concepts that have the potential to shape tomorrow.

“The brands and showcases at Millennial 20/20 congregated some of the brightest minds in retail, marketing and commerce. The customer of today is in control of their shopping experience. The holy grail for retailers and marketers is to meet them on their terms,” said Simon Tate, APAC Area Vice President, Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.

This year’s Summit saw the launch of M20/20 Backstage which is a closed room area of the Summit that hosts brand and retailer roundtables, workshops and lunches. The backstage programme brings Asia’s leading companies together to have closed group discussions on opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Highlights of the programme included:

The Future of Brands and Retailers: Commerce Marketing hosted by Criteo

The retail landscape is seeing dynamic consolidation of marketplaces with giants like Alibaba acquiring Lazada and Amazon who is expanding into South East Asia. In the discussion, leading brands and retailers discussed the future of technology to shape customers’ expectations, personalisation, retention of a strong voice with consumers and the necessary ingredients to create a vibrant future for retailers and brands.

Data Driven Customer Experience Management hosted by Salesforce

The lunch hosted C-suite brands and retailers and addressed the fourth industrial revolution, where cloud, mobile, social and AI are creating opportunities for companies to connect to their customers in a whole new way and giving customers exactly what they want, whenever they want it.


Fusion of traditional values with innovation needed for the Travel & Hospitality industry

Speakers in the Travel & Hospitality track deliberated on how there is still a need to accelerate the pace of change and innovation while still holding traditional values that work in reaching out to today’s millennial traveller. Personalised and bespoke experiences form the crux of many of the successful case studies shared by industry leaders. This session included Japan Airlines, Expedia, Tata Singapore Airlines, Jet Airways and Kayak.

Fashion & Beauty: it’s not about you, it’s all about me! Personalisation in ecommerce and the in-store experience.

Fashion & Beauty brands and retailers today are being tasked with knowing customers better than they’ve ever known them before, and delivering an experience tailored to them. Personalisation continues to be the key to success in any retail strategy. Major Fashion & Beauty brands discuss the demand to blend creativity into experiences that can be rolled-out across all consumer touch-points.

E-commerce of tomorrow to focus on frictionless, “human-first” approach

The hyper-connected consumer of today has more than one way to buy products and services, and to discover and interact with brands. Today’s consumers are also the most tech-savvy to date, expecting seamlessness in omnichannel commerce. Speakers of this track concretised strategies that put the consumer at the forefront, also discussing how best to remove hindrances that could mar the consumer’s overall experience and overall impression of the brand.

Convergence of Finance and technology giving rise to the future of banking and money as we know it

Speakers of this track converged to discuss how technology has also impacted the world of finance that sees the rise of mobile money, cryptocurrencies, and other digital technologies that continue to take banking beyond its physical branch context. Industry veterans also discussed the future of money as we know it, debating on whether physical cash is heading towards extinction, given the sharp rise in mobile wallet payments in the region.

Personalisation key to demand generation in Food & Beverage industry

With street-food, pop-ups and unique food experiences on the up, established brands are facing an uphill task of generating demand for their products. Major players in the Food & Beverage industry discussed how they too can leverage newer technologies to create lasting relationships with consumers through experiences that are customised to the desires of today’s millennial consumer.

Decentralised media consumption key to defining Marketing & Advertising campaigns of tomorrow

Marketers and advertisers of today are challenged with the daunting task of engaging with technologically-savvy consumers across generations. Future-ready marketers discuss the decentralised approach to marketing to the masses, harnessing new platforms and formats to reach consumers in creative and unique ways. Games, influencers and AI formed some of the positive case-studies shared during this session.

Innovation beyond “brand-gimmicks” to define the future of e-commerce

Innovation towards tomorrow’s e-commerce should revolve around the empowerment of communities. Brands need to constantly evolve and adapt to not only avoid losing market share, but to also drive effective consumer experiences and growth. The region’s most innovative companies came together to explore the future of mobility, which sees services going to consumers rather than the other way around, as it has been traditionally. Visitors were treated to case-studies of how innovative firms have managed to drive future-mobility.

Artificial Intelligence and Bots a mainstay for retail industry

With strong indication that a majority of customer interactions in retail will be managed by artificial intelligence by 2020, retailers gathered to discuss how best to leverage this technology in meeting the dynamic demands of tomorrow’s consumers. Furthermore, retailers also discussed how new-age partnerships with non-retail firms may be needed to meet the escalating demands of today’s millennial consumer.