In a recent focus study on Canada by Mintel, they discovered that of 2,000 Canadians 54 percent say they wash their hands more frequently due to COVID-19. While 31 percent say they haven't made any changes as a result of the outbreak.
Another result showed that 33 percent of Canadians are worried about the effect the outbreak will have on their lifestyle.
"We are always measuring changes in consumer behaviour," said Carol Wong-Li, associate director at Mintel. "But as the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, we are taking an even closer look now, and in the weeks to come, at the impact on consumer sentiment and behaviour."
According to Mintel's research, worry and behavioural changes are elevated in the Asian community. Half of the Asian Canadians surveyed are worried about the risk of being exposed and 53 percent are worried about the impact on their lifestyle.
"What’s important for brands to note about this increasingly influential demographic is that they are traditionally more attentive to the social behaviours of companies and more inclined than the average Canadian to purchase from companies and brands that support causes they believe in, according to Mintel research on ethical consumerism. Moreover, Asian Canadians are more inclined to see brands as having the ability to change society for the better. Brands that support causes and promote the fact that their efforts are making an impact will be looked at positively by the Asian Canadian community," said Wong-Li.
Wong-Li explained that Canadians today show moderate concern about the virus and that only a few have changed their routines. While the spread of the virus is not yet contained, brands are in a position to get ahead of potential drastic changes in consumer behaviour with messaging that is comforting and speaks to the need to prepare, prevent, or treat during an outbreak.
"While heavier reliance on digital platforms is a good strategic move for brands to better connect with consumers, companies need to consider utilising such platforms in new and innovative ways to support consumers during this unique time," she said. Brand communication during this difficult time should be grounding for consumers and centred around positive things they can do, brands should be doing what they can to support and encourage them. Mintel's research shows that the bulk of Canadians are practicing conscious consumerism, making them attentive to brand actions and policies. On top of this, the majority of Canadians see diversity as a core part of ‘being Canadian’.
Given these two factors, brands that clearly and sincerely promote a ‘we’re in this together’ message that reflects a commitment to both supporting inclusion and protecting employees will find success through the pandemic and post-COVID-19 era.