With the implementation of the large-scale social restrictions by the government, Indonesians have been living in the “Restricted Living” stage for the past one month during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has inevitably led to significant changes in the traditions and patterns of consumer behavior in welcoming and celebrating Ramadhan and Idul Fitri, the biggest annual celebration in Indonesia. Being the country with the most Muslim population globally, those changes have hit the overall consumer spending that industry players need to reinvent the atmosphere of this festive period in different ways in order to achieve positive growth.
Engage Consumers with Positive Vibes
Indonesians have a tradition called “Mudik,” or traveling back to their hometown. Every year, there is a movement of an average of 20 million people going home to celebrate Hari Raya Idul Fitri with their families. During the Mudik period, modern stores located in small towns along the homecoming route have enjoyed significant increase in sales, until COVID-19 hits and the government bans Mudik to minimize the spread of the virus. Modern trades in small cities now have to rely heavily on local residents, as compared with 2018 and 2019, sales will decrease because there are no travelers from big cities who stop by to shop at those stores.
Nevertheless, is the right time to continue to engagewith consumers. Brands can create a positive atmosphere and the joy of Hari Raya Idul Fitri festive through advertisements on TV. Retailers should prepare an online platform to meet the needs of consumers with quick service and provide enough store stocks in the local areas. Beauty and personal care brands can remind consumers that even if they are at home and only communicate with families through online media, good appearance is still important.
Build Trust, Show Empathy
Ramadhan and Hari Raya Idul Fitri are the best times for caring and sharing. During this festive season Indonesians love distributing food packages in social events, and also sending gifts to relatives and business relations containing FMCG products from festive categories.
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a very significant change to these traditions and also affected the consumption patterns of FMCG goods. In 2019, the growth of products included in the festive category such as syrup, margarine and carbonated soft drinks could reach 300%. This year, the festive category product sales growth is at a similar level to the growth of health and hygiene-related products such as vitamins and wet tissue, which only reach above 20%, and even below the growth of liquid hand washing soap that reaches above 100%.
Brands and retailers need to build their consumers’ trust by showing empathy in this difficult time. Offer goods packages at affordable prices, equipped with shipping and pickup services to make consumers’ life easier. Create Ramadhan gift packages containing not only products from the food and beverage categories but also from categories related to protection against COVID-19, such as liquid hand washing soap or hand sanitizer. Another way is to collaborate with charity organizations to distribute packages of basic foods and staples.
Creativity Is Key
Due to the restricted living period, the tradition of Ramadhan Iftar, or gathering with friends and relatives in restaurants, to break the fasting has been replaced by a meal with the family, serving self-cooked food at home. No more “open house” or large family gathering for Hari Raya Idul Fitri, so consumers perceive that the relevance of beauty products and fashion become lower.Being creative is the key to play in this situation, brands and retailers can still endorse the festive tradition of sharing by ensuring the availability of stock and providing packaging services. Food and beverage brands can engage their consumers in a virtual cooking competition, Beauty brands can create excitement by organizing a makeover challenge for the millennials or even teenagers, or telecommunications companies provide special packages for families to conduct online gatherings on Idul Fitri day.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is indeed a difficult time, but even in the most difficult times there are always opportunities,” said Indrasena Patmawidjaja (Dede), Managing Director Nielsen Connect Indonesia. “We believe that if brand owners and retailers can realize these three things: engage, trust and creativity; they will be able to win the hearts of consumers and seize opportunities for positive business growth during Ramadan and Idul Fitri this year.”
Read in Bahasa Indonesia
The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:
- Nielsen Consumer Study
- Nielsen Scantrack
- Nielsen Home Panel
- Nielsen TV Audience Measurement
- Nielsen Consumer & Media View