Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Taking on COVID-19: How are Australian Consumers Really Reacting?

This week Facebook released an Insights Deck to its ANZ Agency Partners, which contains some awesome market insights around COVID-19 and consumer confidence in Australia. Since we know so many local businesses are being impacted by the Corona Crisis, we wanted to share some of our key takeaways from this deck to help you navigate this tricky time.

In case you missed it, last week we also shared some proactive marketing measures you can implement right now to support your customers and bottom line.

Please note: these results are from late February and early March and the situation has and will continue to evolve.

1. Over 60% of Australians surveyed are concerned about the threat

The Coronavirus has generated fear that is impacting everything from travel and sporting events (sorry, Tokyo 2020!) to work-from-home policies and government initiatives. Facebook’s presentation revealed that 61% of Australians believe that COVID-19 poses a high level of threat to the world.1

22% feel they should be “even more proactive about financial planning and security for the future”.2 While 20% are “worried about falling sick” and 19% believe “this is going to be worse than an economic recession with the risk of people losing jobs”.2

16% also said they “panic about running out of essentials and end up making ‘panic purchases’ from stores”3. Most Australians believe it will take 3-6 months to contain the Coronavirus.

2. Millennials and parents are the most concerned

COVID-19 clearly has Australian consumers on edge. But views about the significance of the threat vary greatly depending on age. Millennials (aka those born between 1981 and 1996) and parents are the most concerned.

  • 42% of millennials are either very scared or fairly scared.3
  • Compared to 38% of Gen Xer’s and only 26% of Baby Boomers.3
  • 40% of parents with children under the age of 18 feel very or fairly scared.3

Right now, business is far from ‘usual’ and we’re noticing that spending has significantly slowed.
Economic uncertainty will make your customers reconsider how they spend and save, and this should be central to your decision-making as you develop marketing messages moving forward in 2020. It’s critical to be sympathetic and use sensitive and compassionate language right now; lots of consumers are doing it tough.

Twitter has shared some excellent examples for communicating with your customers during the crisis (including examples from big brands).

3. The virus is changing how people shop

The response to COVID-19 is certainly changing where we shop. With many closures already being enforced and other small businesses (sadly) already closing up voluntarily, fewer consumers are choosing to shop in high-traffic areas.

  • 25% have visited 
shopping centers less often in the past 2 weeks.3
  • 14% have spent less money in physical stores.3
  • 13% have spent more money online on groceries.3
  • 20% say they are stockpiling.3

The wider embrace of eCommerce, though, could be one of the clearest examples of a behavior shift that’s here to stay. Although online shopping was fairly common before, it was not universal for everything and everyone.

4. Aussies are spending more time online

We’re seeing a big increase in screentime with more Australians turning to social media and online retailers to shop. The way we are connecting with family, friends, and colleagues is changing. 16% of those surveyed are browsing on Facebook 
more often, and 12% more often on Instagram.3 Australia-wide the consumption of movies, TV dramas, and sports has increased dramatically as people are isolated in their homes.

5. Consumers are looking to trusted brands for leadership and support

Consumers are looking to trusted brands to provide them with safety and security in these crazy times. They want to be assured that the brands they choose are in control of their supply chains and are transparent and trustworthy.4

For example, 11% of global consumers said they only bought products manufactured in their country. While an additional 54% “mostly” bought local products.5

For brands to keep any kind of equity right now, they need to be seen as useful. It’s important to know exactly what your customers need and to find innovative ways to be of service. Remember: the way you deal with the crisis now may influence consumers in the future.

We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can support you during this time! https://expose.media/contact/


1 “Coronavirus: opinion and reaction; results from a  Multi-country poll”; Ipsos online survey of 1,000  respondents ages 18+, in Australia,  7-9 February 2020.
2 Top concerns from Australians about COVID-19, Kantar, 9 Mar 2020
“COVID-19 impact on AU consumer behaviour" consumer research by YouGov (online survey of 1,000  respondents in Australia), 12 Mar 2020

4 “COVID-19: What do consumers expect from brands?” by Kantar, Feb 2020.

5 “Covid-19: Tracking The Impact On Fmcg, Retail And Media”, Neilsen, 16 Mar 2020