COVID-19 continues to affect retail spending in APAC even as e-commerce thrives, observes GlobalData

Even after the mass rollout of vaccinations and diminishing COVID-19 cases compared to Q2 2021, 83%* of consumers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are extremely/quite concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in general. This, together with the fact that 66% are still extremely/quite worried about their financial situation, will slow down the recovery of retail spending despite the growing adoption of e-commerce by consumers, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

In GlobalData’s Q3 consumer survey, 61%* of respondents in the APAC were extremely/quite concerned about their physical fitness and health due to COVID-19 compared to 60%** in Q1.

Ankita Roy, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The survey results suggest that the economic impact of COVID-19 on the region has been weighing on the minds of consumers due to which they are inclined towards products that provide more perceived value for money.

“A significant percentage of respondents are also concerned about their physical fitness and health, forcing them to make certain lifestyle changes with 17%* starting to exercise at home while 31%* have been exercising at home more frequently in the last three months.

“This presents an excellent opportunity for sportswear retailers and athleisure brands especially as GlobalData expects strong retention levels of new habits, like exercising at home, post-pandemic.”

While some began to go back to normality, 66%* of respondents continued to work from home in Q3 2021 (compared to 65%** in Q2) leading to an increase in their online presence with 90%* of respondents started/ continued to spend more time online in general (compared to 87%** in Q2).

Ms. Roy continues: “The survey suggests that online demand will remain strong post-pandemic as shoppers have got used to online shopping. Given the huge potential in the APAC region, the e-commerce giants will rush to grab market share in emerging digital economies, with India set to be the primary battleground.

“Even the consumers who had earlier been reluctant to shop online have embraced e-commerce, especially older generations – as 85%* of the respondents above the age of 65 years in the region are spending more time online in general. To meet the needs of these new online shoppers, brands and retailers must provide user-friendly websites and apps that work effectively on both mobile and desktop devices.”

In the Q2 survey, almost 65%** of respondents reported that they are socializing virtually with friends/families, whereas the percentage of respondents has increased to 67%* in Q3. With over half the population in the APAC now connected to the internet, brands/retailers must understand the power of developing a robust digital media presence to engage and connect with consumers.

Ms. Roy concludes: “Retailers that embrace new digital media advancements will outperform their peers. Retailers must communicate with consumers on a personal level in real-time, utilizing social media platforms that have seen a surge in usage as populations turn to apps for round the clock entertainment. Making this digital transition will be beneficial for retailers in the long-run to gain customers, drive global reach and leap ahead of others in the evolution of retail.”

* Data taken from Q3 GlobalData’s survey of 6,000 APAC consumers, aged 16+ conducted in early July 2021

** Data taken from Q2 GlobalData’s survey of 6,000 APAC consumers, aged 16+ conducted in early May 2021

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