In the history of humanity, various disruptions transformed the way we live, behave, grow, and sustain as individuals, communities, and the world at large, ranging from Industrial Revolutions to Digital Disruption. Prior to December 2019, no one could have imagined the next, and -arguably- one of the most significant disruptions would be the health risk of all mankind.
Since the first Coronavirus case in December 2019, Thailand had confirmed the first case on January 13th, 2020, by the Ministry of Public Health. The infected person entered Thailand on January 8th, 2020. Soon after, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on the 30th of January 2020 and recognized it as a pandemic on March 11th, 2020.
Even though Thailand is the first country that has the first case outside China, through the practical approach of our medical and health care experts, together with given direction from government and corporations from businesses and organizations, the number of cases remains within limited quantities. Hence, the pandemic could take months to recover, which will shape new behaviors of consumers to the New Normal.
While everyone at IPG Mediabrands Thailand is working from home, it is only sensible to foresee the changes in consumers post-pandemic so that we at IPG Mediabrands, as well as our business partners, are well-prepared for the emerging changes of Thai consumers.
Undeniably, most Thai consumers will continue to experience economic challenges post-pandemic, as the recovery takes time. The efforts from all related parties are needed to accelerate the economic flow. The strategy in boosting economy as well as generating confidence to overcome a fear of health risk would be in place to reignite the new normal way of living of all Thais.
There are eight noteworthy changes in Thai consumers that will impact the way we do marketing and communications, the new world order of D●I●S●T●A●N●C●E consumers.
First, Digitized Chore, the behavioral change during an extended period of practicing social distancing by staying at home turned mobile phone into a life facilitator. Consumers enjoy an even more convenient lifestyle through their mobile phones or other digital means, ranging from purchasing household products, foods, and other daily necessities. It is conclusively that FMCG products have broken the usual barrier in eCommerce during this pandemic. The majority of consumers will continue to enjoy purchasing online for their daily needs, foreseeing the rise in the sales contribution from eCommerce.
Second, In-Home in Style, the first time ever that social life has become so personal, daily routine-centric, and to the extreme of extra authenticity without additional beautification. The demand for Instagram-able food delivery with hygiene and the disposable package will become the new normal for social food photo, on top of the presentation of home cooking from a large family. Consumers will be acquainted with high-speed WIFI at home and will continue to live with the new standard of speed and quality. It is expected that the shopping basket size will continue to be bigger, with less frequent shopping based on the newly-formed behavior as well as the reduction in the numbers of shop visiting trips or delivery costs.
Third, Sanitation of Five Senses, the new level of cleanliness in all elements of products and services will be a hygiene factory of nearly all categories. Personal products for self-sanitation will continue to be a usual behavior, with an extension of expectation to all shops to provide hand sanitizer and cleanliness guaranteed packaging. Having personal space and touchless self-service could emerge to be a new shopping experience. The stamp of hygiene will be in demand to enhance the level of trust at point-of-sale. In terms of technology, voice command automation will be needed in luxury or premium locations and retails.
Fourth, Tech-Finance Literacy, consumers have evolved themselves further into tech-finance through their hygiene conscious, which is driven the new normal in financial behavior. After a lengthy peruse of a cashless society, the co-creation of the new level of hygiene and convenience will continue to facilitate financial-conduct through digital means. The new common usages of digital banking, e-wallet, and cashless payment will be boosters for the exploration of eCommerce-of-everything.
The fifth formation of behavior is Anxious about Health. The gradual emersion of preventive health care, which was mainly appreciated by Gen Y will be fast-tracked and will expand across all generations, as the value of better-today-health is unveiled. The demand for immunity enhancement food will continue to rise at the cost of anxiety. The search for symptoms will be on top of daily self-observation, which will widen the petition of telemedicine, especially, now that nearly all generations are digitally literate. Online consultation in both physical and mental health will step into the new ear of digitized health and wellness.
Sixth, Nouveau Trust, the long -taken-for-granted- trust from an established brands, products, or services will be re-evaluated as the new “hygiene” factor has become fundamental to brand equity. The demand for the accuracy of information and content will continue to rise, especially in social content, along with the raise of traceable products. Food delivery with microwaveable packaging will experience additional demands of recyclable and hygienic packaging, sealed personalized packaging. Thai consumers will appreciate the brands that do good even more than ever before.
Seventhly, Conversion of Media Appreciation, the demand of hygienic world will drive physical engagement media to adapt to the next level of sanitation, theater, event, and product testing will evolve to practice a hyper hygienic environment. In-home screens consumption has been increased in both time spending and seamlessness of multiple screens from different platforms and will continue to rise due to the adjusted behavior that reunited family experience. The social power will be much stronger than ever before with less polarization, as the sole purpose has shifted and expanded from personal agenda to be more for the collective purpose of the society, which will also dilute the possibility of fake and misleading news. The level of data signals will be much more in-depth, with geolocation related, and with more consents from individuals for the better good, and sustainability of the healthy quality of life.
Lastly, Evolving of Home and Duty, weeks of Work-from-Home has demystified the new level of productivity and work-life balance, work-life harmony. Consumers or employees will continue to urge the home at work and work at home experience in order to manage their lives in more efficient and effective ways, which is aligned with the future potential of school at home. The most recent debate on home-school through digital means, which is -arguably- more adequate to the Gen Z and Alpha Generation. The demand for life facilitation software will continue to emerge and will advance the deliverable to facilitate even more dimensions of life for these digital liberated families. The physical reconnection of the family during social distances has shaped the new demand of togetherness between family and duty, especially in a family with younger children.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the unfortunate event in which we are fighting and will win together. Through such a tough situation, it could probably set zero to the new beginning of consumers’ demands and behaviors. The elevation of D●I●S●T●A●N●C●E consumers can potentially bring forth the next era of physical connectivity and digitized life-facilitation, which we all at IPG Mediabrands Thailand are observing closely in order to be one step ahead of any changes that the future may bring.
Digitized Chore | In Home in Style | Sanitized of Five Senses | Tech-Finance Literacy | Anxious about Health | Nouveau Trust | Conversion of Media Appreciation| Evolving of Home and Duty
Sora Golf Kaitkanarat
Chief Strategy Officer, IPG Mediabrands & IPG Consulting CEO