As Malaysia emerges from the lockdown and offices, shops and schools reopen, shopper behaviour continues to evolve as consumers adapt to life in the new normal. It is therefore imperative for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers and businesses to understand their shoppers in order to better cater to their evolving needs.
To shed light on how shopper behaviour has shifted over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nielsen Malaysia hosted Shopper Evolution 2020, an invitation-only virtual event featuring Dolly Jitani, Nielsen Global Shopper Leader; Anil Antony, Executive Director of Consumer Insights, Nielsen Malaysia; and special guest, Diana Boo, Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Malaysia.
More than 100 attendees tuned in to an engaging discussion that dissected the impact that COVID-19 has had on consumer confidence, finances and home realities, as well as how retailers, suppliers and consumers have responded to challenges such as out-of-stocks and assortment.
According to Dolly, the impact of COVID-19 has created two distinct groups of consumers with differing priorities, realities and, as a result, behaviours.
“Over the course of our research, it became very clear to us that not all shoppers were responding in the same way. There emerged a tale of two shoppers: impacted shoppers—those whose health and/or disposable income were directly affected—and non-impacted shoppers—who are fortunate not to have experienced either,” she said.
“Their behaviours, too, are different. Generally, constrained shoppers are visiting more store formats, and they are making more shopping trips as they tend to have bigger families with school-going children. These shoppers are looking for different product ranges, and they are very price and promo-sensitive.”
While Anil agreed that Malaysians, particularly impacted shoppers, will be scrutinising price tags more closely, he cautions suppliers and manufacturers against slashing prices without first understanding their category’s sensitivity to price and promotions.
“While one in three Malaysians are switching to cheaper products due to financial constraints, they are still unwilling to compromise on quality. Instead they will weigh what is good value for money, taking into account quality as well. Therefore, it is important for companies to understand what consumers value in the category and also how to price those products appropriately,” he said.
Dolly and Anil both reiterated the fact that suppliers and manufacturers have their work cut out for them as shopper priorities will continue to shift as Malaysia and markets across the globe continue to adapt to the disruption brought about by COVID-19. And it is up to these market players to understand their shoppers’ preferences in order to win in store.