September 5, 2023
This survey focused on tracking consumers' sense about the Covid-19 pandemic and the environment, discussing people’s willingness to get vaccinated and their consumption dynamics. It’s now the spring equinox (March 20th) when everything is lively and the weather is fluctuating. The Lunar New Year holidays in February have just ended, and the spring is halfway through. Are consumers also getting ready to join the next wave of purchases?
According to the latest survey, nearly 60% of people in Taiwan believe that it will take about 10-12 months to return to normal life, which starts in the beginning of next year.
However, it is expected to return to normal life faster since we’ve managed to purchase vaccines recently and there is continuous news release about the upcoming vaccines. Whether the vaccines are administered or not and how many people will get vaccinated will affect the planning of business activities.
But overall, Taiwanese people’s sense about the pandemic is less. Except for a few news peaks when there are occasional group gatherings or the difficulties to trace the source of infection, which have brought short-term shocks of rushing to purchase protective materials and reviewing epidemic prevention policies, people’s attitudes are almost stable and their daily lives have not been affected too much after those reports passed. In addition, compared with foreign countries, the pandemic in Taiwan has always been relatively stable and controlled; therefore, there’s also less sense of crisis. These factors may cause most people not to be against vaccinations but also not proactive about them. In summary, Taiwanese people’s sense of the pandemic are easily affected by short-term, occasional and high-profile incidents, but from a long-term perspective, it hasn't changed much. Most Taiwanese people have adopted an attitude of "face it, accept it, deal with it, and let it go one day" most of the time while seeing the changes in the pandemic.
Judging from the relatively stable situation of the pandemic, consumers have budgeted mainly on health supplements, household goods and packaged food. In the catering and entertainment industry, it is indeed possible that large-scale year-end parties or spring parties be cancelled due to the unstable factors of the pandemic. Despite the cancellation of large-scale activities, the gradual normalization of pandemic prevention measures is also sustaining the demand for catering and entertainment. This is likely to become a long-term fight of resistance, and the industry must have resilience to grow.
As far as the industry of retail channels is concerned, according to a survey of the economic trends released by the Taiwan Economic Research Institute at the end of February, 40% of retail channel operators are optimistic about the economic development in the next six months. In addition to accelerating the promotion of new forms of consumer business opportunities, focusing on the stay-at-home economy and increasing the number of members, they also continue to expand exhibition stores and cooperates with other retail businesses to grasp other regional customer groups through co-branded stores and multiple stores. Besides, in order to differentiate from others in the market, they might also invest more different elements. It can be expected that these companies’ changes and investment in marketing strategy may work in the near future and drive consumers' desire to buy.
Although in the latest survey, consumption in March has decreased compared with February, this can be seen as reasonable that the demand slightly slows down, and the seasonal cycle of consumption comes to a lower point after the Lunar New Year in February. It is still possible to see gradual progress of growth or breakthrough. On the other hand, the marketing activities in March are smaller in scale. For example, the main women-related products around March 8 and the 314 White Valentine's Day activities have gradually become fixed promotions. However, with the Tomb-sweeping festival holiday and the pre-order on Mother's Day starting soon, there will be a decisive battle point when every company promotes product characteristics and joins the fierce competition.
In addition to various and festive promotions during the time, this survey shows that although Taiwanese people's budget for tourism and luxury goods is still negative, it has shown a slight rebound and may gradually move towards positive growth.
Including the "travel bubble" with Palau officially launched in April, as well as the continuous development of vaccinations or control of the pandemic in other countries, it is worth expecting and observing. In Japan, considering that the urgent crisis of the excessive number of hospital beds has been lifted and continuing to extend the declaration may cause fatigue and other counter-effects, Japanese government has determined that it will lift the ban on emergency declarations despite the recent increase in the number of cases in Tokyo.
Besides, with the effect of the global investment in vaccination, the tourism industry is expected to gradually break through at least within the next six months.
Regardless of whether to get vaccinated or not, Taiwanese society will officially enter the "post-pandemic era." It is clearly visible that the consumption budget is slowly returning. Even if it is expected to take another year to resume daily life, it is also expected to see more marketing creativity before the "new normal" and products that meet the needs of the people to shock the market!