Learnings from AW'20 PIML Regional Conference: Consumer Trends and the Importance of Prospective

February 20, 2020


At their first regional conference this 2020, Primer International Management Limited (PIML) discussed the arrival of a new decade and the bright future ahead with their conference theme “Prospective: Taking a Deeper Look”. 

Held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom last February 4 to 6, 2020, the Autumn Winter ’20 Regional Conference was attended by over a hundred guests, including brand principals and partners from different parts of the world, who came to learn more about the brands, trends, and strategies for the coming year.


PIML Managing Director and Senior Vice President Mark Chim delivers his welcoming remarks

In his welcome remarks, PIML Managing Director and Senior Vice President Mark Chim further delved into this year’s conference theme.

“Having a deep understanding of consumers is critical as we enter 2020 – a new decade – and as we look ahead to the future. We must have a very good grasp of our consumers – from their culture, values system, personality, and religious practices, to their personal preferences. Only then can we create more opportunities for our brands and our future.”

Such is true for Primer Group of Companies, which has been through many cycles and has also been celebrating its people to get to know them further.

“It’s been a great journey, thanks to everyone’s dedication. We have a total of 3000 employees and the Board of Directors wanted to show their appreciation by personally visiting stores outside of the city and setting up lunch with several long serving employees. They are all very hardworking and passionate. They give us inspiration.” shares Chim.

Within the Primer Group of Companies is also the 15 years young PIML. Despite its youth, the group has already gone through many milestones, brand experiences, and happy occasions, touching lives thanks to every member who keeps the group alive and growing.

Wrapping up his insights on the theme “Prospective”, Chim shares, “The future is bright. We need to look up. We need to rise to the occasion. I think that’s most important.” Finally, he quotes the recently passed Kobe Bryant, “Everything negative- pressure, challenges – is an opportunity for me to rise.



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Primer Group Board of Directors, PIML Managing Director greets and thanks Aetrex CEO Larry Schwartz (L-R: Primer Managing Director Johnny Thai, President and CEO Jimmy Thai, Aetrex CEO Larry Schwartz, and PIML Managing Director Mark Chim)

Aetrex Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Larry Schwartz graced the event to share the following current consumer demands and trends with the conference attendees.


Over the last 20 years, e-commerce has been growing fast, and omni-channel shopping has been booming. Companies that do not adapt are either downsizing or gone.

Infrastructure is also being built at a rapid pace to catch up to the demands of fast delivery and the wide variety of products offered on e-commerce platforms.



  • Consumers want to be able to buy anywhere, anytime. They want to get their products quickly and easily.
  • Although there is always space for in-store shopping for footwear and apparel, shopping really has changed.
  • 81% of consumers in the US research online before shopping. This is why it’s critical to develop e-commerce.
  • What are the main reasons why people prefer to buy on the internet?
    • People value their time.
    • The internet is accessible 24 hours.
    • It’s an endless aisle with unlimited product supply.
    • No borders – consumers can purchase products from anywhere in the world.
  • Social Shopping: Using social platforms for campaigns and brand building. This is the main way to reach new people.
  • Voice Recognition Shopping: Shopping through voice recognition apps such as Alexaand Siri.
  • Flexible Payment Options: An area where Asia is more advanced than the US, flexible payment options give customers choices on how to pay, including payment in installments over several
  • Amazon: The biggest disruptor in retail history, Amazon has a large market share in the US. They are a data and technology company disguised as retail. First and foremost about and for consumers, Amazon offers features such as their breakthrough patented one-click shopping, raising standards and serving as a great example of frictionless shopping.



  • Customers nowadays expect personalized digital experiences.
  • Personalized messages and campaigns get higher engagement and return of investments. Some examples include customized emails and products.
  • Software for personalization is now available .



  • The software component of AI, machine learning, helps improve applications the longer they are used.
  • There is an increase in integration of AI with robotics and computer vision technology. This makes the use of technology better and better.



  • Critical because this is the advantage of brick and mortar stores. It is important for consumer experience in-store and for the future of retail.
  • Brick and mortar still has space in retail as long as it improves its in-store experience.


Aetrex, a pioneer in the creation of medically oriented footwear and foot care products that instantly improve foot health and footwear performance, combines orthotics with technology to provide better experience and service for its customers.

Stores are equipped with state-of-the-art screens and foot scanners that capture data about their customers’ feet.  Aetrex is then able to personalize, customize, and utilize AI to find styles suitable to the customer’s foot type. They are also able to create 3D printed custom orthotics based on the data from the foot scan, as well as have an app for data management that empowers consumers to measure their feet at home using their mobile app.

To wrap up, Schwarz left with these words about consumer trends, “The consumer is in charge. If you listen closely, you know where the future is going. If you listen closely, there really are endless opportunities in sight.”

For more information about the PIML Conference, contact Alyssa Beltran at alyssa.beltran@primergrp.com. For more information about Aetrex brand, contact  Meghann Umali at meghann.umali@primergrp.com