More than four-fifths (86%) of consumers say they have changed their behaviour in the past two weeks to avoid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This involves actions including avoiding crowded places, improving personal hygiene, working from home and avoiding raw or uncooked meat.

This is according to research from YouGov based on their survey of over 2,000 internet users, on average, per market questioned between the 28th of February and 1st of March 2020.

Across all eight Asia Pacific markets surveyed, more than nine-tenths reported changing their behaviour as a result. Despite far fewer cases in the US and UK when surveyed, 57% and 43% of consumers have changed their behaviour respectively.

In terms of specific behaviours, almost three-fifths (59%) of consumers are avoiding crowded public places because of COVID-19.

A greater share have sought to improve their personal hygiene in the past two weeks, by washing their hands frequently and using hand sanitiser. Across the ten markets, almost (71%) report changing this behaviour.

In China specifically, less time in public places has meant over two-thirds of people are consuming more news and video content. The effect COVID-19 has on advertising investment remains to be seen, though – scenarios range from spend been displaced to the second half of the year to a potential advertising recession. In Southeast Asia, 70% of marketers believe they are prepared for omnichannel marketing.

It is highly likely that any new behaviours and lifestyle norms formed during the outbreak will persist in the long-term. Using the disrupted activity to build brand relationships may prove valuable, as long as communications are positive and proactive.

Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis

This article is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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