How has COVID-19 impacted Vietnamese consumers?


How has COVID-19 impacted Vietnamese consumers?

Therefore, NielsenIQ Vietnam, in conjunction with Infocus Mekong Mobile Panel, conducted a survey to understand how people react and behave as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. And the results of the survey show that Vietnamese consumers are taking similar steps to prepare for the disease’s spread as those of other markets. 

How have the Vietnamese reacted toward COVID-19?

In general, the survey results showed that Vietnamese consumers are highly aware of the source and symptoms of COVID-19. They continue to follow news updates of the disease multiple times per day (65%), with the top three information sources including social media (82%), text messages from the Ministry of Health (79%) and news on TV (78%). In addition, while 95% of respondents said that they feel afraid of COVID-19, they do not think that the risk of spreading is high in Vietnam. And most people think the disease will last two to three months. 

However, Vietnamese are not just drawing the line at awareness; they are taking actions to protect themselves from this disease. They wear a mask whenever they go out of home (89%), wash their hands frequently with soap (87%) and avoid public places or crowded places (81%). 

As can be seen from consumer feedback, COVID-19 has impacted significantly on the general behaviors of the Vietnamese. More specifically, 47% of people say they’ve changed their eating habits while 60% of them have altered their entertainment/fun activities. In addition, 70% of Vietnamese had to re-evaluate their travel plans, and 44% of them feel their income has been impacted. 

As for media, Vietnamese people have also changed their daily media habits due to COVID-19, with 40% of Vietnamese saying they spent more time watching TV and 35% spending more time watching online content. 

Brick & Mortar channels take a hit

COVID-19 impacts not only general behaviors but shopping and out-of-home consumption. According to the survey, 45% of respondents have said that they are stocking up with more food at home than before. Brick and mortar channels have been impacted, as more than 50% of people have reduced their frequency of visits to supermarkets, grocery stores and wet markets.

Besides this, 25% of respondents said that they have increased their online shopping and have reduced their out-of-home consumption occasions. 

‘Vietnamese now are spending more time online and are also shopping more online. This provides an opportunity for marketers to be aggressive with their digital strategies and should have a stronger and visible presence online,‘ said by Mohit Agrawal, Head of Consumer Insights, NielsenIQ Vietnam.

Categories: key winners & losers

Together with changes in shopping and consumption, consumers have reported that their relationship with certain categories has been particularly impacted. 

With the increase in stocking up at home, there is a trend toward categories like instant noodles (+67%) and frozen food (+40%) and sterilized sausage (+19%). Packaged water and packaged foods are also on the upward trend.

In addition, personal care (mouthwash +78%, personal wash +45% and facial tissue +35%) and home care witnessed an increase in consumption because of people taking extra care to protect themselves from COVID-19 through focus on washing and cleaning. 

‘Marketers can capitalize on this trend by inducing the consumers to continue with the good habit for a longer term. This can be done by educating consumers about the benefits and also with the right market strategy of being available at the right outlet and at the right price,‘ Mohit said.

On the other hand, people have tended to shy away from fresh meat, vegetables and seafood during this disease outbreak. As for beverages, beer and soft drinks (other than water) saw a decline in consumption. 

Six Thresholds of Concern

A NielsenIQ investigation has identified six key consumer behavior threshold levels that tie directly to concerns around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Currently, Vietnam has crossed into the first threshold “proactive health-minded buying” and is moving into the second, ‘reactive health management.’

Like other markets where COVID-19 has begun to spread, shoppers are showing high levels of awareness and prioritizing health products like face masks and sanitizers. Brands and retailers will need to prepare their supplies to meet consumer demand.

‘There is obvious impact of COVID-19 to consumer life, however we can expect the quick recovery given the high level of consumer confidence in Vietnam. Consumption can bounce back relatively quickly after the outbreak, so retailers and manufacturers need to prepare enough supply for this time,‘ said Nguyen Anh Dzung, Head of Retail Measurement Services, NielsenIQ Vietnam.

About COVID-19 survey

COVID-19 Survey is conducted by NielsenIQ Vietnam, in conjunction with Infocus Mekong Mobile Panel to understand how people react and behave towards the Coronavirus outbreak. It was conducted on February 21 2020 and polled 500 consumers in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi and Da Nang in Vietnam.