Preparing for the consumer post-covid bounceback in Indonesia
Cimigo conducted market research to explore the consumer post-covid bounceback in Indonesia. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has undoubtedly had a massive impact on many aspects of life and business activities in Indonesia. The restrictions mandated by the Indonesian government to curb the spread of the virus (locally known as “PSBB” or partial lockdown), and fear of the disease itself, are affecting consumer behaviors and attitudes. As non-essential businesses are forced to close, travel is restricted, and people are encouraged to stay home, the strain on the Indonesian economy is being felt everywhere.
In April 2020, Cimigo Indonesia conducted qualitative in-depth market research with 66 residents of Greater Jakarta. Participants were aged 21-60 among Mass, Middle Class and Affluent households, to understand in their own words how PSBB and the pandemic has affected their lives and to seek out clues on what we can expect when the Covid-19 PSBB measures are relaxed or lifted. The report seeks to help readers prepare for the consumer post-covid bounceback in Indonesia.
In April 2020, Cimigo conducted qualitative In-Depth Interviews with 66 residents of Greater Jakarta, aged 21-60 among Mass, Middle Class and Affluent households, to understand in their own words how PSBB and the pandemic has affected their lives, and seek out clues on what we can expect when the Covid-19 PSBB measures are relaxed or lifted.
An important theme that emerged in our research is that while PSBB has definitely affected the lives of Indonesians, different strata of Indonesians react to it differently. Crucially, their socio-economic status (SES) is a key factor which determines their ability to cope during PSBB. Mass households, who are the “backbone” of the Indonesian economy, have to make the stark choice between economic survival and staying protected from the virus. Often these pressures result in lower compliance with PSBB measures in order to generate income, or cause them to turn to religion for hope and comfort. Those in the Middle Class are learning to reorganize and reorder their life priorities during PSBB, but are not under as much financial pressure as Mass households. Affluent households are least affected financially, thus some are showing more concern towards the plight of their fellow citizens or the state of the overall Indonesian economy.
Overwhelmingly, social contact and being able to conduct “normal” activities outside the home freely and safely are the two things Indonesians miss the most during PSBB. This may translate to a focus on social or communal activities, including dining out, when PSBB is relaxed or lifted. Due to many having their incomes and financial priorities affected during PSBB, a quick bounceback for consumer spending on retail goods is unlikely.
Three main schools of thought exist on what would happen to their lives post Covid-19. There are those who feel everything will return to how it was before the pandemic, those who feel the world will return to normal but some aspects of their own lives will change, and those who feel that everything will change after the pandemic is over.
Overall, the so called “new normal” may end up more like the “temporary normal”, as Indonesians ride out the tug-of-war between containing the virus and economic activity, at least until the virus is truly under control by various means. A heightened awareness of hygiene, and a forced acceleration of adoption of the digital economy, are two positives that are likely to have longer term impact on Indonesian consumer behavior.
Note: The quotes in this report are in Bahasa Indonesia to capture the original sentiment of respondents.
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