Where are (or aren’t) your consumers?

Data Driven Telltales of Singapore Opening to the New Normal

The pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of the day-to-day life of consumers globally. The extent and duration of mandated lockdowns and business closures forced people to give up even some of their most deeply ingrained habits – spending an hour at the gym after dropping the kids off at school, going to a coffee shop for a midday break, or enjoying Saturday night at the movies.  

At first, these changes looked like short term adjustments to our daily lives- the way we work, parent, and commute. But things took a dramatic turn as the virus spread quickly to most countries of the world.  

As we see things unfold- lockdowns opening up, people adapting to newer lifestyles, and organizations trying to function and grow in the new normal- we notice a deeper impact of the pandemic on personal well being, family & social bonds, and consumer behavior. 

When lockdowns were imposed across countries, Near had predicted consumer super segments emerging out of peoples’ appetite to take risks. We observed people deciding whether to visit a place by a keen evaluation of the risk involved versus the magnitude of the need. 

This time, after the government-mandated lockdown was lifted, we observed footfall and visitation patterns in Singapore and saw some interesting patterns emerge. 

We relearned some basics-

  • Social interactions matter- BIG TIME

If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is how important our social bonds are. During the lockdown, people missed meeting friends and larger families and this was reflected in their behavior post-lockdown. At Near, when we observed people of Singapore visiting various places after the lockdown was lifted, we saw them preferring places like restaurants and cafes where they could connect back with their social circles over gyms and fitness centers. Gyms, however, were not as big a priority because, well, one can always workout at home!

  • People care about safety

Even after the government-mandated lockdown was lifted, people were extremely choosy about where they went and how frequently. People clubbed their visits wherever they could to avoid multiple visits. They also chose their brands based on categories. The logic was simple- when you crave a McDonald’s burger, you cannot have a KFC bucket, but multiple fashion brands can give you similar options for that work from home attire you want to buy. 

In a time of crisis, consumers in Singapore were seen getting back to the basics- whether it’s choosing a convenient location to buy grocery over a favorite retail chain or minimizing the time spent inside a store to avoid infection, consumers of the city stuck to the side of safety and convenience.