According to a recently released Consumer Confidence Survey conducted by The Conference Board and Nielsen, in the first quarter of 2020, Covid-19 disrupted the lives of millions of Vietnamese and rapidly changed consumer attitudes, behaviors and desires.
According to Louise Hawley, Managing Director of Nielsen Vietnam, efforts to curb the spread of the disease, such as restricting social interaction and compulsory isolation and store closures, have slashed consumer spending as more people spend time at home rather than at entertainment venues, bars, restaurants, and in travel.
The report also pointed out that, in the first quarter of 2020, premium health insurance packages surpassed outside entertainment to reach fifth place in the top seven categories of consumer spending. Despite a slight decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, Vietnam is still the country with the highest percentage of those buying premium insurance packages at 38 percent, a decrease of two percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Vietnamese people are optimistic by nature. While only five percent said they were not afraid of the pandemic, nearly half believed that the disease would last two-three months. Vietnam ranked fourth in the world in the first quarter of this year for having the most positive consumers despite adverse coronavirus impacts.
The consumer confidence survey also shows that consumers primarily view the spread of Covid-19 as a health crisis rather than an economic crisis. In the first quarter of 2020, 49 percent of Vietnamese consumers, up four percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, continued to rank health as their top concern, the highest level globally, followed by Pakistan (47 percent), Latvia (40 percent) and Singapore (39 percent). In Vietnam, health had been the top concern for four consecutive quarters.
In the first quarter, there was a jump in the number of those concerned about job security while the proportion of consumers troubled by work-life balance dropped from 27 to 22 percent. Louise Hawley also emphasized that with people increasingly aware of the impact of Covid-19 on work, their spending reflected this uncertainty. On the other hand, when companies began to experiment with working from home, despite the challenges, this change was hailed as a time saver by many employees.
Notably, in the first quarter of 2020, a new factor appeared in the top six concerns of Vietnamese consumers: parent welfare and wellbeing, with 10 percent of the respondents indicating that they were worried about it.
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