Trends in Two Minutes continues its ongoing coverage of the trends of the pandemic and examines the evolving transformations to business and communications throughout APAC as markets continue to strive towards economic recovery – and how best to navigate each development.   

Trends in Two Minutes is a monthly bulletin of trends hitting businesses across
Asia-Pacific with a focus on marketing and communications. 
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Security & Stability – The New Consumer Priorities 

When China first began to negotiate recovery, the country’s leading search engine saw weekly searches for ‘wealth management’ more than double. Similar post-lockdown spikes were observed in interest in ‘home renovation’, ‘house cleaning’, and ‘vitamin supplements’. It’s indicative of a larger trend throughout the region.  

For example, more than 19,000 home improvement projects have been given approval to proceed in Singapore following the recent lifting of circuit breaker restrictions. In Australia, recent interest rate cuts have seen an increase in mortgage applications for first-home-buyers, even during the pandemic – with search interest in home-buying growing in June.  

With the combination of restricted movement and ongoing stress brought about by the pandemic, consumers are investing in the comfort, security, and stability of their immediate home environment. An early indicator came in the widespread popularity of bread-baking; a practice scientifically-linked to comfort, stress-relief, and community.  

As economies are slowly recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers are slowly recovering from the trauma of the pandemic – partly through building more comfortable homes and safer futures. To this end, brands and communicators that can appeal to the new consumer priorities of comfort, security, and stability will enjoy a distinct advantage.

The Growing Opportunities of Domestic Tourism

Amidst the widespread economic fallout of COVID-19, tourism has been one of the most severely impacted sectors – with Asia Pacific’s tourism industry, in particular, facing significant difficulties throughout the pandemic. The World Travel and Tourism Council has projected losses of up to US$800 million for the Asia Pacific sector.

As a result, one of the key areas of recovery investment for both governments and the private sector is tourism. Specifically, domestic tourism. With many markets still negotiating lockdowns, border closures, and restricted movement, brands and governments are turning to domestic travel solutions to help restart their sectors.

Vietnam, for example, has launched a Vietnamese People Travel in Vietnam tourism campaign – with hotels and businesses building on the government’s support through incentives like $100 food vouchers or half-price rooms for guests. Throughout lockdown, Tourism Australia ran multiple livestream events to encourage local travel plans.

For brands and communicators, such concentrated interest in domestic tourism represents an array of new opportunities to connect with consumers and develop potential revenue streams. However, with consumers currently committed to supporting local enterprise, brands will need to emphasise their genuine connections to each market.

Decentralised Healthcare: Adapting to New Pressures

One of the primary concerns of the pandemic has been the ongoing risk of exhausting existing infrastructure needed to treat other illnesses and emergencies. While the worst has been averted in the majority of Asia Pacific markets to date, such concerns have nevertheless taken shape in a number of different ways.

According to the World Economic Forum, the global backlog of elective surgeries cancelled due to the pandemic, for example, could take up to a year to clear – and only if countries increase surgical volumes by 20%. Elsewhere, vaccination campaigns have been suspended in 27 countries; exposing up to 80 million babies to potential disease.

Coupled with fears of the pandemic and infrastructural complications keeping hundreds of thousands of chronic illness sufferers from seeking out regular treatment, such strains and demands are transforming healthcare into new configurations. Home-based primary care has been piloted in New Zealand for chronic illness management, for example.

In Southeast Asia, telemedicine solutions like remote app solutions are allowing vaccination schedules to continue as required. To fully engage patients and stakeholders throughout the pandemic and recovery, healthcare brands and communicators may wish to develop new strategies around de-centralised healthcare approaches and solutions.       

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