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APAC consumers expect brands to show empathy to frontline workers during Covid-19

Consumers in Asia Pacific want to see empathy from brands and support for frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

75% of consumers across APAC say they prefer brands that offer discounts and benefits to frontline health workers, and 73% stated they want brands to communicate with compassion and empathy during this time.

This is according to research by Rakuten Advertising, called ‘The Road to Recovery: 2020 e-Commerce in Asia Pacific’, which surveyed over 5,000 people from across APAC.

“While the pandemic has unfortunately resulted in more consumers being confined to their homes or geographical locations, online services such as food and grocery delivery, ‘buy online pick-up in-store’ and video-on-demand (VOD) have, undoubtedly, gained popularity, with consumers showing that these new habits are likely here to stay,” said Stuart McLennan, the senior vice president of APAC at Rakuten Advertising.

“Retailers should ensure they are complementing their online presence with a strong and tailored digital strategy to enable brand discovery and encourage conversion. Understanding the consumer behaviour of Asia-Pacific shoppers, addressing the nuances of each market and adapting for the online and mobile experience will be key to success.”

What does the survey say?

• It reported that more than half of APAC consumers who chose to shop internationally this year, chose Chinese retailers as their top choice for making international purchases.

• A majority of APAC consumers prefer to purchase from international retailers for more innovative products and faster access to new items. However, 63% of Singaporeans claim that high international shipping costs are a deterrent to completing an online purchase.

• The opportunity of shopping online from the comforts of being home, have resulted in more people discovering new brands overseas. 78% of Chinese consumers opted to shop from international brands because they believe overseas retailers offer more genuine and authentic products, whereas 87% of Malaysians chose international sites for a greater selection of goods.

• Increasingly, more APAC consumers are discovering new brands through online search (64%) compared to recommendations from friends and family (40%) which, traditionally, have been the most reliable source.

• The majority of APAC consumers (72%) also closely follow influencers and bloggers, with Indian, Chinese and Malaysian shoppers stating that they are highly likely to be influenced by these content creators.