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Indonesian Culture and Traditions – What to Consider When Entering the Indonesian Market?

Posted by Anne Q. on December 13, 2021.

Indonesia is well-known for its unique and diverse culture. Indonesian cultural aspects have their own distinct identities that attract travelers who want to learn more about the country.

Many businesses, unfortunately, have made mistakes when ignoring the cultural and traditional features of Indonesia while translating their content into Indonesia in order to reach the Indonesian market. Thus, learning about Indonesian culture and customs is a must if you want any of your promotional products to be a major hit in Indonesia.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most important aspects of Indonesian culture and tradition that you should be aware of if you want to flourish in this market.

#1. Religious Commitments Come First

Balinese people in Indonesia will prepare their offerings first thing in the morning, even if it means skipping all things to devote time to prayer. Regardless of which religion Indonesians practice, the country as a whole is immensely spiritual. They are quite serious about their religious beliefs. It is demonstrated by how they perform religious rituals and ceremonies daily as well as the grand place of worship at their houses.

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Lack of understanding of Indonesian commitments for religions causes many difficulties for businesses. Acknowledging and respecting their religious rituals are a must when entering this market.


#2. There are Six Different Religions in Indonesia

Despite being a secular country by law, Indonesia is well-known for its massive Muslim population (which is also the world’s largest Muslim population). However, Islam is only one of six legally recognized religions in the country, along with Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Protestantism.

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Indonesia is a country with the largest Muslim population

Indonesia’s religious diversity includes a wide range of belief systems. Many communities continue to follow traditions and observe the religions and rituals of their forefathers. However, Indonesia has traditionally been a conservative, tradition-based society. Thus, while the majority of the population conducts various religious and spiritual traditions, the basic guideline about religion in Indonesia is, “Do not judge, lest you be judged.”

As a result, once you’ve targeted the Indonesian market, any of your products or services should avoid insulting or misrepresenting Indonesian culture, specifically their religion and beliefs.


#3. Indonesian Communicate in An Indirect Style

Indonesians communicate in a roundabout way. This implies that people do not always speak what they mean. Listeners must read between the lines or pay attention to gestures and body language to understand the true meaning behind Indonesian words.

It takes time to learn the Indonesian communication style, as well as how to create trust and the ideal approach with Indonesian consumers. You should be aware that Indonesians avoid conflict since it can result in a loss of face. They may tell you what they believe you want to hear in order to be courteous. If you insult them, they will still be courteous to you, but they may gradually avoid you and act coldly. The same things go for your business. If you do not change your communication style to match Indonesians’, losing customers can happen at any time.

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Don’t be surprised if your business doesn’t go as planned because Indonesians typically meet primarily by hierarchy. Indonesians do not make fast decisions because they risk being perceived as not having given the matter enough thoughts.

As a result, if your company needs to work with Indonesians to conduct business in this country, don’t be too fast. If negotiation is required, avoid using pressure tactics because they are likely to backfire. Make sure you understand their ways of conducting business and come up with smart strategies.


#4. Family Matters

Indonesians, regardless of age or independence, tend to maintain tight relationships with their family members. Even if they have a solid salary, many young Indonesians find it difficult to leave their parents’ house. Furthermore, many people choose to continue living in the same house as their parents in case of need. It is not necessarily a sign of reliance; rather, it shows the nation’s beliefs and principles regarding the family.

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Extended family is a popular family structure in Indonesia

Some households even include extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and nieces may live together or in the same area adjacent to each other. This tradition, which expresses love and holy connection, is also practiced by many other Asian countries.

As a result, when doing business in this market, family issues must be considered in order for your items to hit the correct psychology of buyers, utilizing what Indonesians value. For example, many brands consider using the family as the core concept for marketing campaigns in Indonesia.

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#5. Festivals and Celebrations in Indonesia

Appreciating the local Indonesian culture can assist entrepreneurs in being more customer-oriented and developing a marketing strategy that better matches the needs of Indonesian customers. Of course, for Indonesian culture, simply respecting the local culture is not enough; in order to successfully enter this market, enterprises must prepare themselves with comprehensive knowledge of the local people’s festivals, celebrations, and so on. Many modern-day Indonesians strive to incorporate their cultural values and traditions into their daily lives.

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Let’s Summarize

Are you intend to enter the Indonesian market? If this is the case, embracing Indonesian culture and traditions is an important step towards properly and effectively accessing the Indonesian market. In addition, learning about Indonesian culture also helps you avoid misunderstandings and unintentional insults to the beliefs and religions of Indonesia.

And of course, language difference is one of the very significant cultural barriers for all businesses that are planning to enter foreign markets. Therefore, professional Indonesian translation services, which have a deep understanding of the Indonesian culture, language, and traditions are the “golden key” to open the investment door to bring your products to the Indonesian market.

Based in Indonesia, GTE Localize is a professional Indonesian translation agency that will help you achieve successful Indonesian translation projects at the most value-for-money rate in town. We work with a network of native Indonesian linguists who have extensive knowledge of the Indonesian culture, language, and customers to make this promise come true.

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Contact us and get a 1:1 consultancy with our Indonesian localization experts today.