Many businesses plunge owing to the impact of COVID-19, yet several industries are still growing strongly amid the crisis.
According to the recent report by Talkwalker, a social media monitoring and analysis platform, four industries have high demand especially during the outbreak are telecommunications, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and e-commerce.
Vi Mai, PR and Communications Manager at EloQ Communications, shared that many Vietnamese people have gradually turned to internet shopping. “Many e-commerce sites were born and attracted a large number of young consumers. With the criteria of diversified types of goods, many discount programs and promotions stimulating shopping and home delivery, Vietnamese people have changed the habit of shopping at stores as they are busy with surfing websites and clicking the mouse. This is an opportunity for domestic and foreign investors to invest in online shopping through vivid visual marketing and marketing campaigns to reach the right customers”.
“In addition to e-commerce, telecommunications, health care and consumer goods are the worldwide flourish sectors during the Corona epidemic. Therefore, understanding the market changes of these industries and how these brands deal with the crisis will help domestic and foreign companies to have a more comprehensive view of the impact of COVID- 19,” Vi Mai added.
Consumer packaged goods highly sought out
In Asian countries, aside from food, masks and hand sanitizers are the most sought-after items. But in Western countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, toilet paper was a leading necessity that people sought out and store since the epidemic broke out. When toilet paper became scarce, the women scrambled to scratch their heads because several rolls of paper became a hot topic discussed by the public.
The peak was on March 27, with 3,700 conversations due to a follow up story, on the challenge to produce more toilet paper following the mass demand, demonstrating the importance of “toilet paper” in today’s coronavirus world.
A graph shows the growth of conversations about the consumer-packaged goods industry related COVID-19 in March 2020
More than ever, consumers were looking to buy low-cost necessities. With the rise in unemployment, people began to learn how to save money and work out long-term spending problems, prioritizing daily necessities.
Besides, the people’s rush to store goods also made supermarkets and grocery stores operate at full capacity. Brands were actively producing to reassure consumers, minimize the impact of the addition of goods and rebalance their supply chains.
Kleenex reassures consumers with the image of a warehouse full of paper towels
Along with other countries, in Vietnam, online shopping is likely to become a sustained consumer trend in the future. Vietnamese consumers are turning to online suppliers, especially for items that have become scarce after the “storage storm” swept away.
From that, it can be seen that the discount will become the main motivating factor for consumers in the future. Businesses working in Vietnam need to be proactive in answering questions of supply and demand as the online retail channel will be the main trend this year.
Healthcare is the top concern
In the context of economic downturn, ensuring health is the top concern of everyone. For pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted them to step up research into treatment and production of essential goods. Besides, they are also under high scrutiny from the public. Daily health information is highly concerned by people because they feel it is the answer to the problem of future survival. Conversations about leading pharmaceutical brands such as Bayers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have increased by more than 40% in the 30 days by early March 2020 and most are related to COVID-19.
The number one factor driving concern is the health of hospitals. Although healthcare workers have shown heroic levels of strength and bravery, individuals are concerned about the overcrowding we have seen in major urban hotspots, while there might be a lack of resources in rural, less populated areas. This same sentiment is mirrored in the next two largest factors of concern, that being the availability of masks and ventilators, respectively.
In addition, the two largest conversation segments in the pharma industry are around two very important issues: price and access. People are worried about potential price gouging of their current prescriptions or products that may potentially be beneficial during this period or in the future. Additionally, people are worried that they will not have access to the drugs they need and whether pharmacies will be able to manage internal drug supply.
Major initiatives that pharmaceutical brands adopted include waiving and decreasing copays, creating additional employment opportunities, giving bonuses to workers who are risking their lives, trying to supply critical information, and descriptions of preventative measures for the average individual to remain safe.
From the crisis management of U.S. retail and drugstore brand – CVS Pharmacy, they succeeded with a Tweet that attracted more than 11,500 interactions. It is part of a wider communication campaign started very early in the crisis, which is showcasing the different initiatives taken by CVS to support its clients through the free home delivery of prescription drugs, its employees through policies such as paid sick leave in cases of positive COVID-19 testing, and society at large through the setup of drive-through testing locations in some U.S. states.
The praised Tweet from CVS Pharmacy’s Twitter account
Telecommunications, a remarkable growth
Telecommunications is an industry that has seen a large uptake in usage from the crisis. Although this forecasts a positive outcome for the brands involved, they face a tough challenge in meeting the increased consumer demands at this time.
The additional pressure of home working and schooling, has increased the use of video conferencing (streaming), putting huge strain on internet networks. However, most brands have been proactive, releasing positive communications to reassure consumers that the issue is in hand. In particular, the unlimited data announcement from several major U.S. service providers, like Vodafone, T-Mobile, and Spark, created the most conversations across the industry.
Streaming is also putting additional pressure on the internet networks that are already burdened by additional collaboration requirements
One of the most recent baseless conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic is about 5G networks – the next generation of wireless technology that is slowly gaining worldwide coverage. This conspiracy theory holds that 5G is contributing to the global new strain of Corona pandemic. Although the World Health Organization has corrected this as false information, this topic is still rife with radical forums and websites.
E-commerce changes shopping behavior
E-commerce is a growing field in the last two decades. The longevity of Amazon has partly proved the value of an online shopping platform. Now that social distancing and stay-at-home orders are the new norm across the globe, consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce and online subscriptions to limit the time they have to spend outside their homes. An array of brick-and-mortar players in Vietnam are now going online to attempt to adapt to the situation and bridge their revenue gap.
Increasing procurement demand also means increasing demand for personnel. The public is concerned about the protection of warehouse staff – essential to keeping e-commerce platforms working. This makes businesses pay more attention to ensuring safety and good working conditions for warehouse and shipping staff.
On the other hand, if previously Vietnamese people were attracted to discounted prices, promotions, now they care more about delivery times, product availability since people eager to get their hands on essential (or less essential) products.
Leading doesn’t mean being complacent
Dr. Clāra Ly-Le, Managing Director of EloQ Communications, said that even if the brand is thriving during the outbreak, you should not be subjective because the market is always volatile. “Businesses need to monitor consumer discussion topics to proactively attend to a potential crisis, to regularly update customers in a transparent way, and to start new topics, unrelated to COVID-19, in a more positive tone,” she added.
In order to help startups and small and medium-sized companies find communication and branding opportunities suitable for different budgets, EloQ Communications launched a free consultation service, starting from May 2020. This service is suitable for companies operating in Vietnam or foreign companies wishing to invest in the Vietnamese market.
Accordingly, representatives of participating businesses will receive strategic advices; find opportunities and practical communication solutions to promote the brand. Each 1:1 online consultation session will last 30 minutes every Friday morning. To register for counseling, businesses only need to schedule an appointment at https://calendly.com/eloqasia/free-consultation.
The author Dan Nguyen is a PR Executive at EloQ Communications. Dan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Communications from Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City and had experience in public relations and communications thanks to his time working at HTV3 Television, and Dien Quan Entertainment.