By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

ASIAN consumers are expected to lead the change in consumer behavior in the post-pandemic world, and businesses are advised to adapt to at least five key shifts as they happen, global data analytics firm Kantar said.

Vicky V. Abad, chief client officer at Kantar Philippines, said companies in Asia need to acknowledge new consumer insights more promptly as these trends will unfold faster in Asia than in other parts of the globe.

“While we are monitoring the same for the global markets, we believe that in Asia, the shift in attitudes is going to be more accelerated… Because Asia is a part of the globe which is primed for pandemic,” she said in a media briefing last week.

Ms. Abad said the region’s past experiences with epidemics, such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza A virus subtype H1N1 outbreaks, make Asians “ahead of others” and “almost very comfortable” in dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

She added the community-based mindset of the region makes for a societal cohesion at the heart of Asia’s culture, allowing Asians to be quicker to adapt when something hits them as a group.

Kantar has identified five key behavioral shifts that will emerge and last through the post-pandemic world: heightened focus on protection, well-being, connections, flow and experiences.

Protection refers to seeking stability and crisis-proof opportunities. This means favoring reduced human contact and contactless processes as people remain wary of contracting COVID-19. And if hygiene used to be in the periphery, Kantar said it would now be central and viewed as a life saving tactic.

With this mindset, companies and brands must consider offering physical shields, protective spaces, crisis investment and digital defenses.

The previous trend of maintaining outdoor lifestyles may also slow down post-pandemic, as consumers start to favor wellness offers that can be done within the home.

This insight allows for the rise of proactive ingredients in food, digital fitness and wellness zones. The slower pace of life with people mostly in their homes will also allow for new wellness pastimes and hobbies to thrive.

The way people interact and build connections will also change, shifting from seeking meaningful face-to-face interactions to rebuilding digital platforms for intimate connections.

Kantar introduces the idea of a “Generation COVID” in which people are drawn closer together because they are united by the global pandemic. But while digital intimacy may grow, people may also have minimized networks as they grow more conscious with who they interact with physically.

Maintaining a steady flow of life will also be an aspiration after the pandemic, as the disruption brought by the lockdowns will trigger a want for self-sufficiency and reliability.

This poses an opportunity for subscription models to arise. People will also be more conscious of accommodating under-privileged and needy groups, while prioritizing essential products and services.

Lastly, people will maintain a desire for “novel experiences that provide unadulterated fun,” but will remember to have it in stable and controlled boundaries.

This means any opportunity that would strike the balance in giving multi-sensory experiences while ensuring safety will gain traction. Entertainment that can be consumed and exercised at home may also be a new trend, giving opportunity for analog experiences to revive.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a turning point in our history — not only for the healthcare system but also for business models that are changing the way they run their operations to adapt to the new normal,” Ms. Abad said.

“Obviously there will be mistakes here and there, because it couldn’t be a polished response immediately. But people really have to adjust in terms of being available online, if it had to be that way. These are your quick response, but there will also have to be an organized response moving forward,” she added.