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Perspectives

Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker

Asia Pacific highlights

Consumer concerns and COVID-19

Deloitte’s monthly Consumer Tracker survey monitors the attitudes and behavior of consumers in five Asia Pacific (APAC) countries—Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea—based on replies from 1,000 consumers in each country. The aim of our Tracker is to make regular comparisons between consumer markets in each of these countries, and highlight any similarities and differences between them. Each month we shall focus on particular issues, but we shall also identify trends in consumer behavior in response to changes in market conditions.

This month’s survey looks at consumer concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and how this may be affecting choices about spending. The findings are based on responses to our survey on 6 January 2021.

Conclusion

Consumer behavior is driven by concerns and expectations about the future, and trends are likely to emerge with each subsequent monthly survey; however some conclusions may be drawn from this initial APAC analysis.

COVID-19 remains the biggest driver of consumer anxiety, although circumstances differ between the APAC countries, particularly in India (and other countries across the globe) where infection levels are comparatively high.

Concerns about the virus are apparent in various ways. Consumers are more worried about health than about job security and personal finance, and many do not feel safe doing activities that were ‘normal’ before the onset of the pandemic, such as going to stores and restaurants, attending in-person events, staying in hotels, taking flights, and even going back to the workplace.

It may also be the case that concerns about COVID-19 are affecting consumer spending intentions over the next month or so, especially for discretionary items (where spending is not necessary or may be deferred), although in this respect China and India are notable exceptions.

In summary, consumer attitudes will adjust as the health landscape changes over time and the virus eventually comes under control (whenever that may be). However, we should expect consumer behavior to continue to vary according to the different circumstances in each country.

References

1 https://unctad.org/news/covid-19-has-changed-online-shopping-forever-survey-shows

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