Since late April, Vietnam has been battling a fourth wave of COVID-19. New hotspots have emerged as more infectious variants have prompted fresh lockdowns and social distancing in cities and industrial zones in north, central, and southern regions.
Much has been written about the impact of the pandemic on business operations and commercial activities. But what about the impact on consumers? How is their behaviour changing in response to this latest outbreak?
YouGov Vietnam has now interviewed a thousand people to find out. Through our RealTime Omnibus platform, we set out to discover what people think and how consumers in Vietnam are acting in response to this new wave of the virus.
What Vietnamese think of the fourth wave
One of our most striking findings has been how frightened people are of this latest outbreak. Two thirds (66%) of people reported feeling “very scared” of contracting the virus, with a further quarter (25%) being “fairly scared”. In total, more than 90% of Vietnamese fear catching COVID-19.
It is, therefore, not surprising that people are taking serious steps to protect themselves and their families. The most common measure is wearing a face mask in public, with 84% of respondents taking this precaution. Joint second – with 76% each – is regular hand washing/using hand sanitizer and avoiding crowded public places. Social distancing is the next most popular measure, with 71% of people keeping at least two meters apart. Meanwhile, around two-thirds of respondents (65%) are avoiding public transport and one third (33%) are working from home.
There is also strong public support for strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. When asked what the government should do in response to this fourth wave, 83% supported quarantining people who are ‘F1’ – those who have been in contact with a confirmed case. Coming in a close second, with 80% approval, is support for quarantining areas where known cases have been. However, while there is strong public support for quarantining all passengers arriving into Vietnam (72%), just half of respondents (54%) want to stop inbound flights altogether.
Despite their fear of the virus, people retain a high degree of confidence that Vietnam will be able to contain this latest outbreak as it has the previous three waves. Over half of respondents (54%) reported “a lot of confidence”, with a further 36% having “a fair amount of confidence”. This adds up to nine in ten people having faith that Vietnam can overcome this latest outbreak.
How the fourth wave is changing consumer behaviour
The pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote working, with 69% of people working at home at least half of the time.
Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of consumers (62%) have ‘stocked up’ on supplies during the latest period of social distancing.
Turning to Vietnam’s economic outlook, half of consumers (49%) report that the financial situation is worse now than six months ago.
However, reflecting the strong degree of confidence that Vietnam will overcome this fourth wave, 44% predict that the financial situation will be better in the next six months, with a further 34% predicting stabilisation.
Overall consumer spending has fallen both in stores and online. However, the decline was more pronounced in traditional bricks-and-mortar shops where 57% of consumers reported spending less. That compares to 53% who spent less online. Looking at individual categories, the biggest drop was seen in ‘clothing’ with a 58% fall online and a 62% fall in stores. On the other hand, the strongest increase was seen in ‘groceries’ with a 36% increase online and a 38% rise in stores.
With social distancing forcing people to spend more time at home, Vietnam has also seen a rise in e-commerce transactions. So, YouGov asked consumers about their preferred method of payment. E-wallets came out on top with 38%. Bank transfers (23%) came in second, just ahead of cash-on-demand (21%) in third.
Get insights on demand
This in-depth insight into the Vietnamese consumer and their attitudes toward the fourth wave COVID-19 outbreak comes from YouGov’s RealTime Omnibus. This innovative platform allows brands to get fast answers on the issues that matter to their customers. Using this tool, YouGov can interview a representative sample of adults on a wide range of subjects and deliver the responses directly to our clients – giving them fast, reliable, and actionable insights.