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Pandemic-battered consumers changing buying habits

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 04:06 AM September 15, 2020

New socioeconomic and behavioral patterns are shaping the future state of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market in Southeast Asia, which appears less and less affected by the news cycle regarding COVID-19 transmission, according to a new Nielsen study.

In a statement, the market research firm said the new drivers of consumption patterns were the so-called basket reset, homebody reset, rationale reset and affordability reset behaviors, which are underpinned by worsening unemployment situations and uncertain financial prospects around the region.

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In the Philippines, people are adjusting their purchases of FMCG items to account for their increasingly “homebound lifestyle,” with 24 percent of consumers having switched pack sizes to account for this.

Nielsen pointed to this as an example of a “homebody reset.” A consumer shift that will reshape FMCG markets is the evolving routines of consumers at home, as do-it-yourself behaviors and demand for in-home branded experiences have persisted even beyond living restrictions and store reopenings in many markets around the region.

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“Across Southeast Asia consumers continued to demonstrate a focus on in-home consumption, where food and dairy saw strong uptake in markets like Singapore (up by 42.6 percent versus last year), the Philippines (11.4 percent) and Malaysia (6.8 percent),” Nielsen said.

In Malaysia, sales of hair colorants increased by 22.8 percent as consumers opted for hair grooming at home, similarly in Singapore at-home eating led to an increase in consumption of processed frozen food, with sales up by 113.7 percent. In Vietnam, 82 percent of consumers reduced out-of-home consumption occasions, corresponding to heightened sales of instant noodles (up by 14.1 percent versus last year), sterilized sausage (17.9 percent), meal makers (7.4 percent) and mayonnaise (31 percent).

Across Asia 38 percent of consumers said they have been impacted by COVID-19 versus 32 percent globally.

Nielsen also said consumers would start to reprioritize what goes into their baskets and that this broad-based adjustment would reflect a fundamental consumption reset.

“Throughout measured Southeast Asian markets, key FMCG categories like alcohol (-9 percent), health care (-3 percent), personal care (-5 percent) and beverages (-8 percent) are seeing sales declines in the year-to-date period ended in June,” the company said. INQ

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