Despite COVID-19-induced lockdown restrictions now being lifted in many parts of the world, the extended time spent confined to the home has had a significant impact on consumers’ shopping habits and their interactions with brands, according to research* released by Adobe released on the sidelines of Adobe Experience Makers Live, a virtual event to help brands adapt to the digital world.
According to the research, COVID-19 has impacted consumers’ everyday
lives and habits. Nearly seven in 10 consumers (67%) expressed concern
about the overall impact of the pandemic. Chief amongst these concerns
are personal health (73%), job vulnerability (40%) and the economy
(36%). Millennials (72%) typically expressed greater concern compared to
Gen Z (58%), Boomers (62%), and Traditionalists (48%).
Dale, MD, Southeast Asia, Adobe commented, “The outbreak of COVID-19
has accelerated a broad shift in APAC consumer behaviours and attitudes
that have been in the making for some time. It is clear from the results
of the study that brands that are nimble in pivoting to this digital
‘new norm’ will be able to create deep and enduring brand resonance
while helping their customers feel truly supported. Marketers will need
to pay close attention to their customers and ensure that they adapt
their CX strategy to address different groups with relevant messages,
more so now than ever.”
almost all consumers surveyed (95%) are willing to wait out the
continued restrictions, only 61% agree with the continued lockdown
measures, signalling an eagerness to resume life per normal. Chinese
consumers cited the least disagreement with the continued restrictions.
Overall, APAC consumers were more willing to wait out restrictions, in
contrast to consumer sentiment in Japan and the US.
survey found a growing social consciousness reflected in the importance
consumers placed on staff treatment (77%). Despite this, brands have
some way to go - only slightly over half (54%) of consumers agree that
brands are doing enough to ensure staff wellbeing. Among the younger
generation, attitudes are polarised on this issue - Gen Z typically
ascribed less importance while Millennials ascribed more importance to
treatment of staff.
Nearly three in four consumers
(73%) found it important for brands to mirror the state of the world in
their marketing collaterals in response to COVID-19. China (80%) and
India (83%) consumers were more likely to agree with this sentiment.
Furthermore, there is a general sense that brands have a duty to
proactively offer help or provide special offers to customers at this
time. This sense of duty among marketers is strongest in China (94%) and
India (94%), and weakest in Australia (82%). In the US, close to four
fifths (78%) of marketers surveyed say brands have this duty.
Despite COVID-19, seven in 10 consumers
reported a preference for purchasing groceries, health/beauty items and
home-improvement solutions in person, while around half also opted for
home delivery (47%) - usually for food and books - and 17% relied on
curbside pickup. In curbside pickups, the shopper does not enter the
store, but takes delivery nearby, outside the store.
product categories, younger generations and urban residents preferred
home delivery while the older generation preferred in-person shopping,
with the exception of media for the latter. Amongst all countries
surveyed, Australian consumers were more likely to favour in-person
shopping across all product categories.
have done a good job at keeping brand sentiment relatively positive
during this time. Over half (55%) of consumers found utility in
brand-related COVID-19 updates they were sent, with 69% requesting said
updates in the future.
Frequency of messaging and
ensuring that specific groups of consumers receive messages they need,
when they need them was a crucial part of this. Two-thirds of consumers
agree that brands are communicating just the right amount, while
interestingly, nearly one in five (16%) believe that brands are not
communicating enough. Younger consumers were more likely to unsubscribe
from emailers, highlighting the importance of taking a personalised
approach to keep different groups engaged.
to these nuances in customer preference, the majority of organisations
are transforming their long-term strategy in case this period lasts for
more than a year (79%), and are also changing their approach to future
marketing efforts (82%). In fact, marketers in APAC organisations
indicated a greater inclination to make long-term changes compared to
their counterparts in the US. Changes include shifting to different
marketing channels (75%), changing prioritised audiences (58%) and
reallocating resources across different regions (47%).
intrinsic value of brands directly addressing COVID-19 in external
communications is apparent with over seven in 10 (71%) of marketers
report having a COVID-19 task force to manage messaging and campaigns.
Those in Australia (55%) and Singapore (67%) are less likely to have a
task force, whereas those in China (81%) and India (80%) are more likely
to have one.
During the lockdown, 58% of consumers
increased their online shopping frequency while three quarters (74%)
cited an intention to change their future shopping habits. Indian and
Singaporean consumers reported the strongest intentions. Unsurprisingly,
younger generations were more likely to cite an intention to change
future shopping habits while older generations preferred to maintain the
Chinese and Indian consumers were most
likely to report an increase in online shopping, with Indian and
Singaporean consumers reporting the strongest intention to change their
future shopping habits.
In contrast, under half of
marketers in Japan and the US report having specific teams for this. The
positive outcome of aligning closely with a COVID-19 task force is that
the vast majority of marketers in APAC feel that organisational
marketing and communications have been authentic (94%) and have
resonated with customers (92%).
Download the reports on the Adobe website – Consumer Report | Marketer Report (PDFs).
*Conducted by research firm Advanis for Adobe, the study surveyed
4,001 consumers in selected Asia Pacific countries – Australia, China,
India and Singapore and 1,200 marketers across China, India, Singapore
and Australia between 1 – 17 June 2020.
APAC stands for Asia Pacific, and CX for customer experience.
Age bands are defined as: 18 to 29 years old: Gen Z (23%); 30 to 49 years old Millennials (36%); 50 to 64 years old: Boomers (26%); and 65 years+: Traditionalists (15% ).