September 5, 2023
Can these three seemingly unrelated concepts and events show, apart from the epidemic, the current trends and possible opportunities of Taiwanese consumers when we enter the level 3 alert?
As the Covid-19 epidemic in Taiwan escalates, the country has entered the level 3 alert. Although the current epidemic seems to have a steady trend and the people are gradually getting used to the pace of life in this "state of emergency", from this latest survey, it can be seen that Taiwanese people’s feelings about the environment have worsened sharply in June. And 70% of the people are pessimistic about the situation from last year till now. However, on the other hand, although 50% of people think that the next year will get worse, from March there still has been 30 to 20% who think that it will gradually get better, which has decreased compared with the previous surveys. This image shows that although the current situation is severe and unrelieved, the outlook for the future is not completely pessimistic overall.
In June, two phenomena increased sharply, including the willingness to get vaccinated and the urgency of logistics. According to the survey, the willingness of all survey groups to get vaccinated is more than half. However, medical resources have been snatched due to the epidemic and middle-aged and elderly will bear a higher risk of casualties once they get seriously ill. Therefore, as the age increases, the willingness to get vaccinated also increases. Besides that it is reported that women have more side effects than men, we may need more information to determine whether it is only the side effect of the vaccine that makes women more hesitant about the vaccines.
Another thing that everyone can feel is "logistics." A large number of online orders from the "soft lockdown" caused some e-commerce companies to fail to respond in time and shipments were completely paralyzed, or frozen logistics operations were suspended in the north, or the demand for fresh food and short-distance delivery services increased significantly. In addition, in response to the huge losses in the aviation industry and market demand, EVA Air has removed seats from some of its passenger aircraft and replaced them with cargo to meet the immediate needs of international cargo. From this, it is seen that in the era of the epidemic, whether it is how to strengthen the operational flexibility of logistics in the micro-city or how to connect the production end and consumers between cities more smoothly, even from a global perspective, these will test how big companies respond to the crisis and strengthen the overall logistics ecosystem and operational flexibility in the foreseeable future.
Whether it is "vaccines" or "logistics", both of which compete with time, they have caused different levels of time differences because of epidemics variance around the world, from which we can see all kinds of learning, introduction and evolution. In Taiwan, for example, delivery platforms have begun to promote the system of "tips" to encourage delivery personnel; convenience supermarkets all over Taiwan not only share the burden of sending civilian assets into the community, but also allow shopping platforms such as Shopee to effectively divert logistics, transportation and pickup. Because of WFH and heavy weather, the latest survey shows that the use of the two major delivery platforms (UBER EATS and Food Panda) has increased significantly. In the current use of e-commerce Apps in Taiwan, Shopee has always been the first among e-commerce platforms during the epidemic. In the latest survey, it has recreated its peak and outperformed other platforms.
Compared with other countries, the "time difference" of the large-scale outbreak in Taiwan was about a year later, resulting in different evaluations of the government's policies and influence on the trend of policy strategies. However, there is no doubt that Taiwan's epidemic prevention results are not really far behind or worse, compared with other countries. This is probably why Europe is about to include Taiwan as one of the countries that can enter the country in order to save their tourism industry although there is no mutual benefit (Taiwan does not allow nationals from other countries to come to Taiwan for general reasons), which currently doesn’t even require proof of vaccination or the usual quarantine. Therefore, although the epidemic is still the cause of great changes in life, no matter the domestic epidemic slows down as expected, domestic tourism is expected to recover, or international tourism, etc., it is likely to gradually recover.
The epidemic has greatly increased the frequency of consumers using online shopping and delivery platforms. However, the most successful and topical marketing product recently has been McDonald’s BTS co-branded meal for takeaway, which features not only the attraction of Korean idol BTS and South Korea’s direct-delivery of unique sauces but has also successfully created the marketing power that makes people "want to eat chicken nuggets" by riding on the trend of takeaway and delivery. These sales niches, epidemic factors and timing make this marketing approach more distinctive.
If we extend the time and broaden our horizons, the huge changes in Taiwanese people's lifestyle may represent a special period of ups and downs of the market in history. The Covid-19 epidemic, travel in Europe and BTS meal, these seemingly irrelevant keywords, may be telling us that we should slow down and keep a little distance from the vortex of vaccine debate. How to correctly judge the world trend and understand the impact and opportunity brought about by the epidemic, "the faster the world, the slower the heart" may be what we lack but need the most at this moment.