Over the coming weeks and months as the economic and behavioural impact of Covid-19 makes itself known in a ‘new normal’ of continual, rapid change, IPG Mediabrands Ireland, with its agencies Initiative and UM, led by Eamon Fitzpatrick (pictured), will report and interpret data affecting brands and society in Ireland and overseas.
Fitzpatrick said his group will help brand owners navigate these turbulent times by offering expertise and insights. “We’re assisting them make business decisions that support their communities at a time of rapid change,” he said. “Though it lies ahead of us, we’re working closely with brands to prepare for the recovery when it eventually comes.”
The following is a curated view of developments in the past week:
First off, due to Covid-19, we are living through the largest social experiment ever, which serves as one of the most insightful times in history. What will happen to crime? What business will thrive or wilt away? How will consumers behave afterwards? Will we have less or more needs? We are seeing trends take shape as brands pivot at scale.
Once the dust settles, quarantines lift and consumer confidence begin to rise again, the consumer mentality will change dramatically. Food and grocery delivery will make remarkable leaps forward, among all demographics. Consumers will continue about their daily routine, but with online shopping embedded in their buying behaviour.
GWI surveys show 26 per cent of millennial consumers, 24 per cent of Gen Xers and three per cent of baby boomers have actively increased their online buying behaviour. Consumers in countries most affected by Covid-19 are more likely to delay purchases until the outbreak is over in their country, while consumers in countries less affected are less likely to postpone their purchases but are also more unsure of how long they will delay acting.
eCommerce movers and shakers
Healthcare sites are seeing a 27 per cent increase in site traffic as people look to protect themselves and their families, but other retail categories are feeling the effects of this sudden shift in consumer behaviour. Sports equipment saw a 28 per cent decrease in traffic in the UK, online grocery shopping rose 20 per cent and the 35 per cent rise in ‘adult luxury items’ hints at a whole new baby boom on the horizon. Footwear sites saw a 11 per cent drop as outdoor activities, group sports and public fitness classes slow. Tech retailers face a 13 per cent rise in demand, as more people work from home and retailers across Ireland run out of screens.
UK food delivery surges
While IPG Mediabrands says they do not enough data on the Irish market as yet, revenue in the UK online food delivery segment rose 11.5 per cent in the year to date versus the comparable period last year. Statista says there are 22.5m users – an increase of 9.8 per cent on the same period in 2019. GWI is reporting that millennials in particular are using online stores and ordering takeout food at about nearly twice the rate of any other cohort.
Irish food fights back
The pandemic has left restaurants and cafés across Ireland reeling, as social distancing measures force many to close their doors. But the changes have pushed businesses to be agile and serve customers however possible. Just Eat is offering its customers a contact-free food delivery service. They are signing restaurants up to their platform for free.
The company launched a €1 million support fund.
BuJo burger joint in Sandymount reinvented how it does business ‘on the fly’, having closed up shop on Sunday. By Tuesday, the team had created a digital drive-thru, using WhatsApp for orders. Pickle on Camden Street in Dublin shared a recipe for murg tariwala, their home-style north Indian chicken curry flavour on Instagram.
Mamó started The Hatch, a takeaway and collection service for lunch and dinner menus.
Youtube fitness revolution
Interest in YouTube fitness videos soars as consumers navigate new world conditions. An upswing in interest in fitness videos in ES and FR have reached higher levels than at any time in the last five years, a trend that should continue in the weeks ahead. UK and DE markets are soon to surpass January 2019 and 2020’s fitness peak.
BOB ODENKIRK IN NETFLIX’S BETTER CALL SAUL
China stores wake up
After cases of coronavirus begin to fall in China, Apple re-opened all 42 stores in the original outbreak region as Greater China became the first nation to quell the rise in new cases. Primark also re-opened its factories in China. It shows that preventative measures taken by retailers are maximising disruption in the short term to restore sales in the long term.
Streaming demand hits fever pitch
YouTube is following in the footsteps of Netflix, above, and will throttle streaming bit rates across Europe to avoid gridlock. Video streaming now makes up a substantial proportion of bandwidth requests. As a result, YouTube and Netflix held emergency talks with senior EU regulators to try and resolve this concern before it became a reality.
A recent App Annie study found that mobile application usage around the world surged last month amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Last week, App Annie said that an average user in South Korea spent three-point-nine hours a day accessing mobile apps in February, up seven per cent from a year earlier. South Koreans spent the second-longest amount of time on apps after the Chinese, who spent five hours daily on apps, up 30 per cent on 2019.
Video conferencing and remote working
Cisco Webex reported 6.7 billion meeting minutes so far in March and is hosting over four million meetings a day globally, excluding one-on-one calls. Compare that to the six billion meeting minutes per month in January. Microsoft has reported that its teams’ collaboration platform saw a 500 per cent increase in meetings, calls and conferences.
Teams also saw a 200 per cent rise in mobile usage in China since January 31.
The Covid-19 outbreak is not the first time that video conferencing has seen a similar spike in demand. Events such as 9/11 and Sars prompted businesses to use video meetings in lieu of travel. However, those past surges failed to leave a lasting impression on the industry mainly due to the high costs and clunky technology. In its latest estimate, Frost & Sullivan research reveals that only six per cent of all meeting rooms globally are video conferencing-enabled.