Consumers change shopping habits amid COVID-19 pandemic

Consumer habits have changed greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, opening up opportunities for businesses that can capitalise on the changes, a recent survey has found.
Consumers change shopping habits amid COVID-19 pandemic ảnh 1Customers at a supermarket (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) -
Consumer habits have changed greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, opening up opportunities for businesses that can capitalise on the changes, a recent survey has found.

The survey on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer and business sentiment in Vietnam was conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association, SurveySensum and Adtima. It shows that the pandemic has changed Vietnamese lifestyles, shopping methods, and social interaction.

Consumers have shifted to health and hygiene-focused lifestyles, with these categories seeing the biggest jump in purchases, while nonessential and less healthy products experienced a decline in purchases.

Online shopping has risen significantly, with a number of shoppers using apps to order from nearby stores up by 18 percent. Those who had groceries delivered at home were up by 14 percent, shopping online by 9 percent, and credit card use by 3 percent.

The lockdown during April gave a rise to new digital categories. YouTube, TV and home activities have gained the most during COVID-19.

Some 38 percent of the surveyed consumers said they had tried e-learning apps online for the first time in the past month, while 23 percent and 21 percent of consumers tried online grocery shopping and movie streaming services, respectively, for the first time.

Asked about what they want from brands, 61 percent of polled consumers said they wanted products and services that promise health and well-being, and 56 percent wanted safe products and services.

To meet this expectation, brands should show how they can be helpful and informative, and should offer a positive perspective and not exploit the pandemic to promote their brands.

According to the survey, consumption of personal hygiene products, vitamins, herbal products, and fruits and vegetables has been on the rise.

Regarding shopping methods, online groceries will continue on the rise as well as e-commerce in general.

As for online activities, there has been an increase in online media, including streaming, online games and social media. In particular, consumers are actively searching for health-related information.

In general, the survey pointed out that there will be two great opportunities.

Firstly, there has been a rise of social commerce and conversational commerce, or sales through interactive chat and messaging channels with customers in the online environment.

Brands can start focusing on social commerce and conversational commerce for the future and can achieve two to three times the impact by leveraging conversational commerce if they make good use of the trend.

COVID-19's effect on consumption and purchase behaviour will be long-lasting, and brands need to brace for the new digital normal in the post-pandemic period.

Secondly, brands should look at the crisis as an opportunity to innovate.

The 2008-2009 crisis provided a lesson in experience. According to Gartner’s research, innovative business groups spent an increase of 3.9 percent for R&D activities. As a result, they achieved a 14 percent increase in revenue before tax.

In contrast, slowly adapting business groups decided to cut costs and stop innovation. As a result, their pre-tax revenue only increased by 0 to 1 percent.

Therefore, MMA experts believe that brands need to focus on innovation, keeping in mind the behavioural changes caused by COVID-19, and reinvent supply chains to digitally serve consumers and deliver to their doorstep.

Phan Bich Tam, country manager for the Mobile Marketing Association for Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, said: "We firmly believe that what is changing consumer behaviour, especially interaction in the online environment, is a big step in digital transformation. Businesses see online journey for ‘branding or selling’ as an important part of their journey to conquer customers and take the leading position.”/.

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