(Yicai Global) Feb. 13 -- The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has recontoured Chinese consumers' behavior and habits in the past few weeks, with 84 percent of respondents having sampled new consumption patterns during the outbreak, a report by UK-base consulting firm Kantar concludes.
Many traditional sectors have suffered as a result, while emerging ones have been able to grasp fresh opportunities, the report found.
Kantar's study was a questionnaire-style survey of 1,093 Chinese consumers, including nearly 200 from Hubei province where the virus first broke out, and which is in lockdown in consequence. Of these, 34 percent have sought online medical consultation for the first time during the epidemic, the results show, in the highest mention rate among the various business fields. Some 29 percent and 26 percent of interviewees had ventured into online education and office software for the first time. Others mentioned consumption and services that included paid digital entertainment, mobile live-streaming, social e-commerce, purchase of indoor fitness equipment and online banking.
The proportion of consumers shopping online has also swelled during the epidemic, with 55 percent of respondents having bought goods on an e-commerce emporium, quite close to the 58 percent first-ranked e-supermarket category. Some 35 percent of users visited online-to-offline catering and fresh produce platforms and made group buys on their community's WeChat groups, surpassing those going to traditional supermarkets and convenience stores.
In contrast, consumption patterns that require leaving the home have drastically contracted amid the epidemic. About 75 percent of consumers have completely ditched consumption related to travel, dining and outside entertainment, and 17 percent have cut corresponding spending. These sectors are expected to stage a strong rebound after the epidemic is over, however, as 65 percent of consumers said they want most of all to eat out and party after the pestilence abates, while 58 percent just want to shop till they drop, and over half yearn for outdoor recreation and sports.
People have also shelled out more on food and beverages, sanitary supplies and medical insurance during the outbreak, while cosmetics, apparel and luxury goods have all fallen off. The consumption mentality will tend toward the conservative after the pestilence, and a brand's effect on the environment and sustainable development will contribute more to buying decisions, Kantar predicted.
Editor: Ben Armour