Mar 05, 2020 / 09:39

How has Covid-19 impacted Vietnamese living and consumption habits?

While 95% of respondents said that they feel afraid of Covid-19, they do not think that the risk of spreading is high in Vietnam.

A survey conducted by Nielsen Vietnam and Infocus Mekong Mobile Panel has shown that the new coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak has made Vietnamese consumers feel afraid, resulting in a significant impact on their living and consumption habits.

 Covid-19 has changed Vietnamese people's daily habits. Photo:

How have the Vietnamese reacted toward covid-19?

In general, this survey, conducted late last month, finds that Vietnamese are highly aware of the source and symptoms of Covid-19. They continue to follow news updates of the disease multiple times per day (65%) with the top 3 information sources including Social Media (82%), Text messages from the Ministry of Health (79%) and News on TV (78%).

In addition, while 95% of respondents said that they feel afraid of Covid-19, they do not think that the risk of spreading is high in Vietnam. 2-3 months is the time that people think this disease will last.

However, Vietnamese are not just drawing the line at awareness; they are taking actions to protect themselves from this disease. They wear a mask whenever they go out of home (89%), wash their hands frequently with soap (87%) and avoid public places or crowded places (81%).

Nearly a half (47%) of people changed their eating habits while 60% of them have altered their entertainment/fun activities. 70% of Vietnamese had to re-evaluate their travel plans and 44% of them feel their income has been impacted.

As for media, Vietnamese people have also changed their daily media habits due to Covid-19. 40% Vietnamese said they spent more time watching TV and 35% spent more time watching online content.


Brick & mortar channels take a hit

Covid-19 impacts not only general behaviors but shopping and out-of-home consumption. According to the survey, 45% of respondents have said that they are stocking up with more food at home than before. Brick & mortar channels have been impacted, as 50%+ of people have reduced their frequency of visits to supermarkets, grocery stores and wet markets.

Besides this, 25% of respondents said that they have increased their online shopping and have reduced their out of home consumption occasions. “Vietnamese now are spending more time online and doing are also shopping more online. This provides an opportunity for marketers to be aggressive with their digital strategies and should have a stronger and visible presence online,” said by Mohit Agrawal, head of Consumer Insights, Nielsen Vietnam.

Categories: key winners & losers

Together with changes in shopping and consumption, consumers have fed back that their relationship with certain categories has been particularly impacted.

With the increase in stocking up at home, there is a trend towards categories like Instant noodles (+67%) and Frozen food (+40%) and Sterilized Sausage (+19%). Packaged water and Packaged food are also on the upward trend.

In addition, Personal Care (Mouthwash +78%, Personal wash +45% and Facial tissue +35%) and Home Care witnessed an increase in consumption because of people taking extra care to protect themselves from Covid-19 through focus on washing and cleaning.

“Marketers can capitalize on this trend by inducing the consumers to continue with the good habit for a longer term. This can be done by educating the consumers about the benefits and also with the right market strategy of being available at the right outlet and at the right price,” Mohit said.

On the other hand, people have tended to shy away from Fresh meat, Vegetables and Seafood during this disease outbreak. As for beverages, Beer and Soft drinks (other than water) saw a decline in consumption.

“There is obvious impact of Covid-19 on consumer life, however we can expect the quick recovery given the high level of consumer confidence in Vietnam. Consumption can bounce back relatively quickly after the outbreak, so retailers and manufacturers need to prepare enough supply for this time,” commented Nguyen Anh Dzung, head of Retail Measurement Services, Nielsen Vietnam.